Mary Janet Stevenson (nee Campbell)
Mary Janet Stevenson (nee Campbell) died suddenly in the early hours of December 31, 2019. Known to all who loved her as Janet, she was born April 10, 1941 in St. John’s, Newfoundland to D. Chester "Chet" and Helen (Goodie) Campbell.
Chet and Helen moved their young family to Fredericton soon after the war. The family business eventually became Tractors and Equipment on Smythe Street and, as many will know, this was also the home to Open Gaits Stables. It was here and at the nearby Fredericton Pony Club that Janet’s lifelong love of horses flourished.
Janet attended the University of New Brunswick and graduated with her Bachelor of Physical Education. While at UNB, Janet happily met and married T. Robert Stevenson "Bob". Janet and Bob eventually settled in Fredericton, where Janet taught Physical Education at Devon Junior High School and Bob started a career in construction and mining equipment sales. Bob and Janet welcomed two sons, Robert Sean Stevenson and Jon Campbell Stevenson.
Janet was, above all, immensely proud of her children. Through her constant love, even discipline, and willingness to encourage risk-taking, Janet raised two successful and big-hearted sons. Rob became a competitive equestrian athlete who represented Canada in the 1992 Olympic Games; he later returned to medical school to eventually practice cardiology at the NB Heart Centre. Jon followed in his grandmother’s footsteps by serving as captain of his basketball team at UNB; he then earned an MBA from Dalhousie University before moving to New York City for a career in the financial sector. Rarely passed a day when Rob and Jon did not speak with their mother. Janet served as a constant source of support, encouragement, and love.
Janet fervently pursued the outdoors; she was in her element walking with Bob and her dog in O’Dell Park, kayaking on Foshay Lake, or skiing on any mountain from Crabbe to Sundance. Janet believed strongly in the Fredericton community, citing there was no better place to raise a family. For many years, she served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Chalmers Hospital Foundation. She also served on boards for Sport New Brunswick and the Fredericton Pony Club.
Janet loved people and animals. She competed in equestrian sport from a young age until she passed the reins to her children. She was often seen in Fredericton with one or more Golden Retrievers, warming the hearts of everyone she met with her joyful presence and uplifting words. She took great pride in often running into former students who would recall stories from her teaching days. Her residence at 885 Mitchell provided a second home for many of her sons’ friends; she never hesitated to provide motherly counsel to those that joined her at the kitchen table.
She lived her life in Fredericton, before retiring in recent years to the family farm at Foshay in Lower Cambridge. Foshay was her most favourite place, somewhere she could share fond memories of her parents and build new ones with her own children and grandchildren. As honourary co-chairs, Janet and Bob have been the driving forces behind the formation of Foshay International, a world-class equestrian event held each Labour Day weekend at the farm. The event exemplifies so much about Janet: her wish to celebrate the majesty of the horses and the province that she loved, and to bring people together in fellowship, laughter, and sport.
Janet’s life philosophy was captured in one of her quintessential refrigerator quotes: "Adapt or Become Extinct." Janet was never afraid to pursue adventure, to accept challenge, or to assent to change when it was necessary. Janet always did whatever she had to do to live and love in as full a manner as any human can know.
Janet is survived by her husband, Bob Stevenson; her sister, Andrea Dolan; brother and sister-in-law, Duncan and Fay Campbell; sister-in-law, Kate Wilson; brother and sister-in-law, John and Peggy Stevenson; her sons, Rob and Jon, and their wives Suzanne and Savannah; and her precious grandchildren Grace Margaret (12), Richard Robert "Robbie" (9), Caroline Campbell (8), and Sylvia Nelle (3).
A memorial service will be held at St. Paul’s United Church, Fredericton on Monday, January 6, 2020 at 1:00 pm with Rev. Michelle Armstrong officiating. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions to one of Janet’s favourite causes would be very much appreciated: The Helen Neill Campbell Merit Award at the University of New Brunswick (www.unb.ca/academics/calendar/undergraduate/current/awards/search/helen-neill-campbell-merit-award.html; please email Marcie Nixon at email@example.com), or the Dr. Everett Chalmers Hospital Foundation (www.chalmersfoundation.com).