Jerry Kopel


The news of Jan Duckworth's death hit hard. Jan was a person so vibrant, so full of life. Death is supposed to come to those who have gone from life to just hanging on, not to someone who had decades of good life ahead.

I knew Jan during her service as an employee of the House of Representatives for many, many years. If I had to describe her, it would be regal, patrician, articulate, intelligent, and human. No one made more of a fuss over my delight at finally becoming a grandparent.

We never discussed politics or bills. That would have been a no-no. But I knew she was listening to the debates on the House floor. When we were discussing adding another check off to the income tax form, I said at the mike, "the only check off worth arguing about is The Cherry Orchard." And I heard her laughter (the only laughter in the House) coming from the assignable clerks' section to the left of the House floor.

Jan did an excellent job as chief assignable clerk. She was efficient, she was firm, and she was my friend.

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