Jan Shanis Tuttleman
September 6, 1956 - October 29, 2012
On a pair of skis, Jan Shanis Tuttleman could conquer almost anything. But when brain cancer slowly began to strip away her motor skills, Jan suddenly became a novice on the slopes.
Her indomitable spirit wouldn't let the cancer beat her.
"She had been an expert skier, but when she began to lose that ability, who but Jan would hire an instructor and start all over again on the bunny slopes?" said Emily Einhorn, a close friend and frequent travel companion.
The story captures the way Jan lived her life -- with determination, a positive attitude and an appetite for adventure.
She brought that spirit to every endeavor, devoting herself passionately to her work, family, friendships, and philanthropy – even the fight against the disease that would eventually claim her life. Dubbing herself "The Brain Warrior," Jan's positive attitude and strength throughout treatment was an inspiration to those around her.
"She constantly surprised me in that she never lost her enjoyment and excitement for making a difference in the world, and just enjoying everything about life," said Ms. Einhorn.
Jan died at her home in La Jolla, CA on October 29th after an extended battle with brain cancer. She was 56.
Throughout her life, Jan demonstrated the same fearless optimism and unflagging generosity. She was born in Bala-Cynwyd, PA a suburb of Philadelphia, to Edna and Stanley Tuttleman, noted philanthropists.
Jan earned her bachelor's degree from Boston University and her Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of Pennsylvania before moving to San Francisco, where she worked as a postdoctoral fellow for Nobel Prize winner Dr. Harold Varmus. In 1990, she moved to San Diego when her husband, Dr. Michael Kriegler, became head of the molecular biology division of a biotech company in La Jolla. After Dr. Kriegler's sudden death at the age of 41, Jan raised her two daughters, Sophie and Emma, as a single mom, all while continuing to make tremendous contributions to the community through her philanthropic efforts. She served numerous nonprofit boards of directors, including in leadership positions and heading capital campaigns.
"She never bragged, she just did," said Ms. Einhorn. "She saw a need and realized her ability to effect change."
In 2006, Jan added to her impressive academic credentials by earning an MBA as part of the inaugural graduating class of the UCSD's Rady School of Management. She later helped establish a gift campaign to advance the school's development and in 2012 was awarded the UCSD "Distinguished Leadership" Alumna Award in recognition of her leadership and contributions to the university.
"Jan was never one to just write a check and call it a day," said Jeri Rubin, a fellow Rady student who worked on the inaugural gift campaign with Jan. "She would roll up her sleeves and jump wholeheartedly into any endeavor, wherever she saw a need. She really was the embodiment of compassion and support."
As a reflection of her deep Jewish faith and devotion to her two daughters, Jan was particularly involved in issues affecting women and children and in serving the Jewish community. She helped found the San Diego Jewish Women's Foundation and Women Give San Diego, organizations dedicated to improving the lives of women.
Stories of Jan's altruism abound, but she was equally devoted to her family, including her husband, Craig Lambert, and daughters, Sophie and Emma. "This experience with cancer has enabled me to appreciate my family and feel closer to them in ways I wouldn't have expected to feel," Jan said in post on her Brain Warrior blog, which she maintained during her battle with cancer.
"She supported people – family, friends, strangers," said her brother Steve Tuttleman. "So many times in the past few weeks, people have come up to me and said, 'Jan was a mentor and inspiration to me.''
In a 2010 interview with the La Jolla Light, Jan said, "I am inspired by people who, when given an opportunity, will rise out of difficult and challenging situations." Jan was that person, and will always be remembered as one who lived life to its fullest, even to the end.
Ms. Tuttleman is survived by her husband, Craig Lambert of La Jolla, Calif.; daughters Sophie Kriegler-Tuttleman of New York City and Emma Kriegler-Tuttleman of La Jolla; stepsons Gage and Jared Lambert of San Diego; brothers Steven Tuttleman of New York City, Zev Guber of Santa Fe, NM, and David Tuttleman of Wilmington, DE; sister Carol Guber of New York City; and mother, Edna Tuttleman of Merion, PA. Memorial donations may be made to any of the many organizations she supported, including Jewish Family Service of San Diego, the Jewish Federation of San Diego County, the Jewish Women's Foundation of Jewish Community Foundation of San Diego, the Sanford-Burnham Institute, the UCSD Rady School of Management, or Women Give San Diego.