Thursday, September 22, 2016

AFVN RIP Jane Cook Lewis "Jane the Weathergirl:

“Janie the Weathergirl,” as she was known to the viewers of the American Forces Vietnam Network TV station in Saigon, was killed in an automobile crash September 12, on Interstate 5 just north of Oceanside, California.

She and her twin sister Joan were born May 6, 1942, in San Diego.  Jane was a graduate of Hoover High School in San Diego and attended San Diego State University where she met her husband-to-be, George Lewis.  They were married August 22, 1964.

As a young wife, Jane encouraged her husband to pursue his TV career and accompanied him to Vietnam when NBC News sent George to cover the war for the network in 1970.  From late that year until early 1972, Jane became the “weather girl” on American Forces TV in Saigon.  She also traveled in combat zones, helping entertain the troops at various firebases and visiting the U.S. Navy fleet patrolling the Gulf of Tonkin, dropping in on some of the vessels at the end of a helicopter hoist line.

One of her trademarked bits on AFVN was the way she wrapped up the weather report on the late news.  She’d recline on a couch, whisper “goodnight fellas,” and turn off the light. It was decidedly un-p.c. by today’s standards, but a big hit with the troops.

During her time in Southeast Asia, Jane developed an interest in Asian art and was later co-founder of Vagabond House, a small business that imported Asian decorative accessories.  She and her partner Susan Lord, the wife of NBC News producer Art Lord, were among the first American businesswomen to visit China on a buying trip a couple of years after President Richard Nixon’s historic opening of relations in 1972.

With the birth of her first daughter Sarah, in Houston in 1977, Jane’s focus shifted to motherhood.  A second daughter, Katherine, was born in 1980 in Washington, D.C.  Two years later, the Lewis family returned to California when George was assigned to the NBC Los Angeles bureau.

Jane and George went their separate ways in 1993 but remained connected through their children and grandchildren.  They vowed to live out their lives as friends and welcomed grandsons Carter, Jack and Owen into the family in recent years.

Jane’s final decade was spent in San Diego and she lived at the home she inherited from her mother in 2005. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, contributions be sent to AIWF San Diego, 2683 Via de la Valle, Del Mar, CA 92014. Checks should be made out to AIWF and “Jane Cook Lewis Scholarship Fund” should be written on the memo line. AIWF is a 501(c)(3) charity and contributions are fully tax deductible.