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Born: Apr 01, 1916

Date of Passing: Mar 02, 2018

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JESSIE (JESS) HERMIONE LANG 1916 - 2018 102 years lived to the fullest by an amazing woman; Jessie Lang's life has been filled with challenge, sadness and triumph. On March 2, 2018 Jessie died peacefully at home with her daughter and friends by her side. Jessie was born on April 1, 1916 in Calgary, Alberta. The family moved to Winnipeg in 1924 and remained here. She is survived by her daughter Signy Hansen, nephews, Robert Reid (Joyce), William (Billy) Hansen (Aracely), Brian Grant (Arlene), niece Kajhilda Grant and many extended family and dear friends. She was predeceased by her parents, Barbara and James Blackwood, her sister Catherine Reid, husbands, Stefan Hansen and Bill Lang, nephews, Barrie Hansen, Peter Henderson and her precious, beloved daughter Wendy Hansen. A born leader and organizer, she was a dedicated, committed and inspiring, yet unassuming mentor. Influential and empowering to women, she always encouraged critical thinking and independence. Early in her life, Jessie became a role model for women, who witnessed her quiet determination to achieve goals that were not easily accessible for women. In 1937 she graduated from Wesley College with a BA in mathematics. She participated on the debating team, played ice hockey, was a member of the student council and worked in the library. She was very persistent in securing her first job at an insurance company as it was their policy not to hire women. It was there that she met her first husband Steve and they welcomed two daughters Wendy and Signy into their family. Family, friends and participating in the community were the centerpiece of her life. In the early 1960s, Jessie joined the 10/15 club, started by some friends who wanted to learn about and participate in the stock market. After 25 years the club disbanded, taking themselves on a trip to England with their earnings. Jessie's love of Clearwater Bay was cemented when she purchased a cottage on Rocky Ridge Road next door to her dear friend and co-conspirator Doris. It became a haven, a retreat and party central for her friends, her daughters and their friends. After Steve's death, Jessie returned to the University of Manitoba to obtain a Bachelor of Social Work degree. She worked at the Child Guidance Clinic until her marriage to Bill Lang in 1970. Bill and Jessie shared a wonderful life together. After Bill's retirement they travelled extensively, spent summers at the cottage and golfing at St. Charles Country Club, and spent winters in Florida and Hawaii with friends. After Bill's death in 1992, Jessie spent winters in Arizona. On her last trip there she celebrated her 98th birthday. Jessie participated in several organizations and clubs, including The Twenty Club, an art study group at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. She was an avid bridge player continuing to play up until this year. St. Charles Country Club remained a very important part of her social life until recently. She attended special events and loved Friday nights at "The Club" with her friends. She was a member of the Parish Church of St. Luke. She loved the serenity she felt sitting in the beautiful church. In the 1970s Jessie began her major volunteer work with the University of Manitoba, the Health Sciences Centre and The Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada. As a member of the Board of Governors at the U of M, she became involved in The Health Sciences Centre, becoming the first female chairperson of the Board. She helped to establish daycare for its staff, assisting women to remain in the workforce. Jessie was a member of the Health Sciences Center Foundation Board and an active member of the Honorary Directors. After her daughter Wendy was diagnosed with MS, Jessie worked tirelessly through the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada to find a cure for the disease and to assist individuals living with MS and their families. She was involved at the local, provincial and national levels and participated in her first MS walk at the age of 97. Jessie's many achievements have not gone unrecognized. Among them are the Distinguished Service Medal from the U of M, Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Winnipeg and Honorary Fellow of St. John's College. She was also awarded The Nancy Perkins Award for outstanding volunteer contribution to the MS Society of Canada. In 2016, to honour the 100th anniversary of women's right to vote, The Nellie McClung Foundation established The Nellie Award to honour 10 women in Manitoba who have made a difference. Just a couple of months before her 100th birthday she received a Nellie. In the fall of 2017, Jessie, at the age of 101, attended her 80th reunion at the University of Winnipeg. Although she knew what a remarkable life she led and what she accomplished, she was always very modest about it. Four of the most important things for Jessie were friendships, laughter, a positive attitude and curiosity. For the past 25 years, Jessie and Signy developed a very special mother-daughter relationship. Both maintaining their own independence but also being there for each other and sharing adventures. Over the past several years, Jessie received wonderful care and support that enabled her to remain in her own home. Thank you to WRHA home care, the overnight caregivers, especially Mei, the home nursing services and the palliative care program. Home Instead staff and caregivers, especially Kim and Des provided care and support with love and devotion. Shahid our nurse practitioner has been invaluable. Our devoted driver, Jaafar always ensured that Jessie was safe and comfortable. Thank you to Marianna for your loving care. To Hildy who has travelled this journey with us and become part of our family, my heartfelt thanks. Thank you to the many friends who continued to keep in touch with Jessie. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, March 17 at 11:30 a.m. at The Parish Church of St. Luke, 130 Nassau Street North. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Health Sciences Centre Foundation (MS research), PW 112-700 William Ave., Winnipeg, MB R3A 1R9; the University of Winnipeg Foundation, 901-491 Portage Ave., Winnipeg, MB R3B 2E4; or to a charity of your choice. THOMSON "IN THE PARK" 204-925-1120 Condolences may be sent to

As published in the Winnipeg Free Press on Mar 10, 2018

Condolences & Memories (5 entries)

  • I always think of aunt Jesse this time of year. Uncle Bill was so happy when he found Aunt Jesse...and I remember our visit to Winnipeg, staying at Tuxedo condo with our son Kasper, who was only a few months turning 27! All my love to you. Katie - Posted by: Katie wilkins Sherk (Bill Lang was my great mother Ann Walker’s uncle) on: Nov 11, 2019

  • I had the honor of meeting Jessie last June at the Annual General Meeting of our Condominium Corporation. We had a wonderful chat, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. She was one of our longest residents, and had previously been on the Board of Directors. Jessie led a truly wonderful life, and she made a difference for her community and for our province. The description of her life in this Passages account and in the Winnipeg Free Press article published on April 14, 2018 is truly inspirational. She will be greatly missed by all who knew her. - Posted by: Bruce MacFarlane (Friend) on: Apr 14, 2018

  • I am so saddened to hear Aunt Jessie has passed. What a remarkable life she had and I wish I had been able to hear her speak about the many accomplishments she achieved. My heartfelt sympathy, Signey and I hope to speak with you in the near future. Much Love. Heather - Posted by: Heather McCallum (Great Neice) on: Mar 15, 2018

  • Signy, we are so saddened by the news of your dear mother's passing. What an extraordinary woman she was and she leaves behind such a legacy. You are in our thoughts. Love you so much. xxx - Posted by: Susan and John Bahen (Friends) on: Mar 15, 2018

  • Please accept my most heartfelt condolences for your loss. Jessie holds a special place in the hearts of so many here at The University of Winnipeg. Reading her obituary, I’m especially impressed by her tenacity to break boundaries and determination to change the world for women. She was a trailblazer. One of the highlights of Homecoming 2017, was meeting Jessie at her 80th Class Reunion. I thoroughly enjoyed speaking with her about her time at Wesley College. The University of Winnipeg community will remember Jessie for her strength of character, leadership and her commitment to so many philanthropic endeavors in our city. I am grateful to have met Jessie and experienced her charm and generous spirit. - Posted by: Brian Daly (CEO, University of Winnipeg Foundation ) on: Mar 12, 2018

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