Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Sad news: Rosemary Jane Burke-Robertson, B.A., L.L.B, M.St.J., C.St.J. April 11, 1960 – May 4, 2013


Jane passed away at home surrounded by her loving husband, children and family after an inspirational and determined three year struggle with cancer. Jane was the third child of Marilyn and Colonel William Burke-Robertson Q.C. by whom she was predeceased. Jane is survived by her husband, David Sherriff-Scott, and their four children, Alexander (19), Iain (15), Katharine (14) and Michael (13) Sherriff-Scott, by Jane's sister, Sandy (David) Atack and nephew, Chris, and niece, Ally Atack.

Jane was raised in Dunrobin where she grew up an accomplished rider. She graduated Elmwood's School for Girls before completing a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work at the University of Ottawa in1980. Following her first degree, she travelled to France in 1981 where she worked for a year as a volunteer at Jean Vanier's founding L'Arche Community in Trosly, France. L'Arche is an international organization dedicated to the daily support of those with developmental disabilities though Christian community living.

Following her return to Canada, Jane completed her Law degree in 1985 at Queen's University. She was called to the Bar of Ontario in 1987. Jane's Call launched an extraordinarily distinguished and unique legal career which spanned nearly three decades. Her practice was devoted exclusively to the charities and not-for-profit sector in which she became a nationally recognized leader. She acted for every conceivable kind of charitable entity, including some of the largest and most extensive philanthropic organizations in Canada and the world. In 1992, Jane authored the first major legal text in the area, Non-Share Capital Corporations, and despite her illness over the last three years she co-authored a new book in the area which will be released later this year under the title Corporate and Practice Manual for Charities and Not-For-Profit Corporations. In 1994, Jane became the founding Co-Chair of the Ontario Bar Association's (OBA) Charity and Not-for-Profit Law Section and she was the first Chair of the Canadian Bar Association's (CBA) Charities and Not-for-Profit Law Section in 2000. Jane taught the first course in charities law in Canada at the University of Ottawa Law School in 2005. Jane was an Ontario Bar Admission lecturer in corporate law and she spoke at countless educational conferences. Jane was selected as a senior advisor to Industry Canada for the administration of the Canada Corporations Act. She went on to act as a major advisor to Industry Canada for the development and implementation of the new Canada Not-for-Profit Corporations Act and co-authored Industry Canada's Handbook for Federal Not-for-Profit Corporations under it. Jane was consistently recognized as one of the country's leaders in her field by industry publications. In 2011, she received the AMS John Hodgson Award by the OBA in recognition of her leadership in the development of the law and her service in the charitable arena. In 2012, Jane was selected by industry publications as the Best Lawyer in Ottawa in her field.

Jane was also a remarkable and tireless volunteer. She was a leader in providing pro-bono legal services to struggling charities. She used her expertise to serve on the Boards of many important charitable organizations such as the National Gallery of Canada Foundation for 10 years, for 15 years as Deputy Legal Counsel and Counsel to St. John Ambulance, the Ottawa School of Dance for 12 years, the Autism Society of Ontario's Ottawa Chapter for 2 years and then for 9 years on the Executive Board of the Autism Society of Ontario, L'Arche Canada and the L'Arche Canada Foundation for 12 years, for 3 years on the Ottawa Regional District Health Council, the Ottawa Congress Centre for 3 years, the Canadian Organization for Development through Education (CODE) for 6 years, and Elmwood School for Girls for 4 years. Jane was also a volunteer group home worker.

Jane received the Queen's Jubilee Medal for significant contributions to her community and to charity. She was twice invested by the Governor General of Canada, first as a Serving Sister and later as a Commander of the Order of St. John Ambulance in recognition for her significant contributions to the work of that Order. In 2010, Jane was selected as the Volunteer of the Year by the Thinking in Pictures Educational Society
Jane was a loving wife to her husband and a devoted and loving mother to her four children. Her loving kindness, dedication and absolute devotion to her children and the courageous example she showed in her struggle with cancer to remain alive and to continue to contribute to her children's lives will make them better people. For as Jane's children mature, the extraordinary force and depth of the character of their mother will be revealed to them.

Jane lived her life based on the principles that one must always be compassionate, tolerant, just and dedicated. She lived by the motto that "God does not call us to do extraordinary things, but to do ordinary things with extraordinary love." Jane will be profoundly missed by all of those whom she knew, and especially by her family by whom she was so very deeply loved, revered and adored.


John G. Knopp said...

Thank you for posting this. I did not know her, but, given what you wrote, I wish I did. I have forward your tribute to her to my friends and co-workers to inspire them to continue in the spirit she started.



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