Jane Stopford Purves

July 22, 1949June 1, 2013

PURVES, Hon. Jane Stopford, 63, died Saturday, June 1, at home surrounded by those she loved. Born in Halifax, she was a daughter of Dr. James K.B. Purves and the late Mary (Tobin) Purves. She was educated at public schools and the former Halifax Ladies’ College, now Armbrae Academy, receiving her BA from Dalhousie University in 1973. She said she received her “other” education in the social turmoil of the sixties and seventies, which she said she mostly remembered. Jane felt her love of reading helped immensely in developing a respectable editing career. Jane spent 25 years in the newspaper business in Halifax, primarily at The Chronicle-Herald, where she began as a reporter in 1974 and served as managing editor for most of the 1990s. During that time, she was a member and president of the Canadian Managing Editors Conference and a board member of both The Canadian Press and The National Newspaper Awards. She was elected MLA for Halifax Citadel in 1999 and served as education minister and then health minister in the majority government of Dr. John Hamm. She was also minister responsible for the Status of Women. Jane held several smaller portfolios, including minister responsible for the Nova Scotia Boxing Authority. This, she said, was of no help in surviving the cut and thrust of the legislature. In 2003 she was named editor of the former Halifax Daily News, thus becoming the first person to edit both Halifax dailies. She soon returned to politics to serve as chief of staff in Dr. Hamm’s minority government until his retirement in February 2006. In the fall of 2006 she was the Irving Chair in Journalism at St. Thomas University in Fredericton, N.B. Until recently, she was a radio and television news analyst for CBC News Nova Scotia. In 2009 she received an honorary diploma from the Nova Scotia Community College for her role in helping to redevelop and fund a major expansion of the college. This was one of the achievements she was most proud of as she felt there was a great need for the youth of Nova Scotia to have the opportunity for training in the trades. In 2013 she was awarded a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for her work in journalism and politics. Jane was very intelligent and very funny. Her brother once said that Jane won every prize given out at the Halifax Ladies College, except one, second place. She loved a good political discussion and had the ability to see both sides of an issue. She was a great listener but was not afraid to express her opinion even when she knew it might not be the one the listener wanted to hear. Reading and doing puzzles were some of her greatest joys along with good white wine. Jane once said about her life: “My only regret is that I did it my way.” She adored her granddaughters and they gave her many hours of pleasure. She was a wonderful mother, grandmother, sister and daughter and her friends were many and varied. Besides her father, Jane is survived by her son Thomas MacEachern (Kristen Tynes) and her granddaughters Morgan and Rory; her former husband Roderick MacEachern (Carol lee Niblett), all of Dartmouth; two sisters, Caroline (John Walker-Haworth), London, England, and Jillian (Rick Haupt), Halifax; her brother Thomas (Linda Keddy), Halifax; two nieces, Grace Haupt, Toronto and Ellen Purves, Halifax; four nephews, Leigh Walker-Haworth (Sophie Lovett), and their son Arthur, Devon, England; Jamie Walker-Haworth (Nataliya Dronova) and their children Ilya and Anna, London, England; James Purves, Halifax; and Sebastian Haupt, Paris, France; her aunt, Josephine Prentice, Renfrew, Ont.; and many cousins. A memorial service will be held at the Cathedral Church of All Saints, Halifax, on Friday June 7 at 10 am. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Armbrae Academy or the Canadian Cancer Society. The family wishes to give special thanks to the compassionate doctors and nurses of Cancer Care Nova Scotia and the Victoria Order of Nurses. To view or place an online message of condolence please visit

To make an online donation please use the web addresses below:

Armbrae Academy

Canadian Cancer Society


  • Funeral Service Friday, June 7, 2013

Jane Stopford Purves

have a memory or condolence to add?

Dr J.Barrie Ross

June 25, 2013

Jim, I have just read of your loss of Jane. She was a truly remarkable person.I send you and the family all my sympathies. Barrie Ross

Mary Munson

June 8, 2013

Dear Jill:

I am so sorry for the loss of your dear sister. I interviewed her once on an education story. She said and she was so right: "You always get further with honey than with vinegar".
You and the rest of your family are in my thoughts. Take care. Mary Munson

mary murphy-nurse

June 8, 2013

Dr. Purves and all Family,my thoughts and prayers are with you during your time of sorrow and great loss!

June 8, 2013

Tom, Kristen and all the family: A beautiful service for a beautiful person. I worked with Jane for many years and enjoyed her wit and wisdom immensely. Roger Edge, Sheldrake Lake, NS

Faye Mingo

June 7, 2013

To all of Jane's family and friends, I send my deepest sympathies. Jane and I attended Halifax Ladies College, were writers and at times involved in the education system. Jane was such an inspiration and wonderful human being to me and to others. I was shocked to hear of her early death. May she rest in peace and may her family find strength in this difficult time and warmth with each other. Sincerely, Faye Mingo

June 7, 2013

Tom, Doc, Jill and Caroline. I regret not attending the service today due to work commitments. My Caroline told me what Jane's Tom had to say and of the message the minister gave to her grandchildren so I feel a bit like I was there. My deepest condolences to you all.

Michael Caswell

John MacDonell - MLA for Hants East

June 7, 2013

To the family: I'm sorry that Jane lost her battle. I found her to be a really fine person. My condolences on your loss.

Peter Moreira

June 7, 2013

Jane was an inspirational leader and a great newswoman. She had a tremendous eye for a story, was frank and concise in her direction and gave freely of her time to younger reporters. She was hilarious. She was a great friend. I think the last time I saw her was with her granddaughter in Julienne's, and Jane was beaming with delight at the young girl. My deepest sympathy to the Purves family.

Wayne Adams

June 7, 2013

To Tom,Kristen, Dr. Purves and the entire family...I extend my heartfelt condolences on the passing of Jane. First met Jane in the 70s at a Halifax Press Club event.We became instant buddies/friends. This magnificent women of strength, wisdom, and integrity was solely responsible for launching me as a columnist at the former Daily News. Forever grateful for our friendship...her wit...and our exchanges of politic! Rest well my friend,we'll see you in the morning.

Marsha Nickerson

June 6, 2013

To all of Jane's family,
Jane and I spent a great deal of time together for a few short years after we met at Dal and before I left Nova Scotia. Despite only seeing Jane very occasionally on visits to my family after that, her friendship has always been very important to me. Jane was special in so many ways.
Over the years I learned just how close Jane was to all of you, and how much she appreciated you. Of course, I had always known how she felt about you Tom, and then Kristin and your daughters, but came to understand that Jane had unusually strong ties with her parents, and adored her sisters, Jill and Caroline, her brother Tom, and their families as well.
Morgan and Rory, Jane told me you were the best things in her life.
I can hardly imagine how difficult losing Jane must be for all of you, and offer you my deepest condolences.

Marsha (Nickerson)