As the obituary notice so well conveys, Jane combined personal and professional abilities that reinforced each other over a wide range of activities. I think especially of her unfailing optimism, and her gift for finding the funny side of every difficult situation..These qualities made a real difference for raw young faculty members like myself. Victoria College c. 1970 was an institution under stress, and it could be a dour place at times. Jane was a kind, firm, but always encouraging mentor to her novice colleagues, always reminding us of the positives and suggesting ways to deal with the negatives. Later her warm and generous friendship in many ways shaped my career.I owe her a lot, and will always remember her with gratitude and affection. My heart goes out to Michael.
Back in the 70's I was fortunate to have Prof Millgate as my teacher of Victorian Fiction, which became my passion. I was also her TA. I will never forget how much I learned from her, and how I longed to be like her, as an academic and a woman. There were not many role models in those days. Although my career went in a different direction (I ultimately, and fortunately, became president of Penguin Canada) I retained the approach to texts, and some of the teaching style of Prof Millgate. I send my sympathy to Prof. Michael Millgate (who I also met) and their family.
Dear Michael, I was very sorry to hear of Jane's death this morning (in New Zealand, where I am until April). Jane was a remarkable woman, a good and valued friend to Brian, and a source of comfort, with bracing good humour, to me after Brian's death. Her extraordinary mind, her incisive comments, her wry sense of the ridiculous, all made her a delightful lunch companion, which is how I have known her these last few years, and I shall miss our lunches at the window table at Spiga greatly.
It must be something of a comfort to you that you were able to keep Jane at home for the last stage of her life, and you must miss her enormously. My sympathies are with you in this great loss.
I have many fond memories of Jane Millgate, who was my (unfinished) PhD advisor in the 1970s, and with whom I kept in touch over the years. She influenced me probably more than she knew -- intellectually, but also in more personal terms, due to her constant kindness and generosity. She was a rigorous scholar/teacher in the best sense. I would like to think that her legacy with me is seen in a respect for literary approaches that feature historical analysis, precision of thought, and a touch of good humour. And on a more private level, I have benefited from her wise advice, usually offered with a gleam in the eye.
I spoke with her by phone in November, as I was going to Toronto then and hoped to get together -- but that was not to be. The last time I saw her, a few years ago, she showed her typical generosity: we were having coffee in a book store, and she insisted on buying me a copy of Tony Judt's Postwar, which she thought I should read.
May I offer my heartfelt condolences to Michael, and to others reading this who, like me, will miss her very much.
Jane was an exemplary citizen of the University of Toronto, one of those colleagues who made it the great university it is. Teacher, scholar, leader, mentor and colleague, she did it all at the highest levels of excellence and cared for all around her. Paired with Michael, they ranked with the great university couples of their generation. We are all indebted to Jane and send condolences to Michael who will miss Jane terribly.