On March 14, 2012, my colleague and dear friend, Dr. Jayne Major, died of complications from cancer. Her passing is a great loss to all of us who knew her, to the Family Law Court System and to the many families and children who benefited by her work.
Her research dealing with children of divorce, custody proceedings and parenting both during and after divorce was ahead of it’s time. A simple woman whose reputation is world wide dealing with these issues is well known.
She was in demand as a speaker, author, consultant and instructor. Approximately two years ago Jayne traveled abroad to Spain to lecture on the subject along with Dr. Michael Bone another expert in the area of custody disputes/child manipulation during divorce. She use to speak fondly of the trip and sharing her experiences and educating families in Europe who were also dealing with the same issues during high conflict divorces.
An advocate for parenting education. She often said that parenting was one of the most difficult professions we would ever undertake as adults and that parents did too little to educate themselves. Jayne also felt that being the best possible parent was also significant in helping families stay together so that families didn’t fall apart and could better cope with the complexities that are found in today’s society.
That commitment to education, families and children would later lead Jayne to begin her research into the field of dealing with divorce, custody and child manipulation as more parents raised related issues during parent education programs.
While the argument on Parental Alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome and Hostile and Aggressive Parenting as a diagnosis and it’s inclusion into the DSM, continues today, Jayne’s research may ultimately prove a tipping point along with many others in this field.
Regardless of the outcome, Jayne will be remembered for her commitment to help children and families through the divorce process and in dealing with high conflict divorce. She will also be remembered for her parent education classes and research in general on the issues of parenting.
Jayne could be tough too. Impatient with her peers, the judicial system and those who made decisions regarding the custody of children, she was frustrated by the lack of action in correcting the problems related to violation of court orders, withholding of custody and in turning a child against the other parent all in an effort to win an advantage in court/custody for financial reasons for retribution, for revenge.
But Jayne was more than an educator, author, and instructor. She mentored and supported girls from difficult backgrounds some who came from tough or poor neighborhoods. Jayne encouraged girls to finish junior and senior high school and to believe in themselves. Jayne later was given an award for her efforts in mentoring. Jayne was very proud of that award. But she was more proud of the impact she made on the lives of the girls she worked with. Jayne was also an active member of the Rotary Club and regularly traveled to bring books, wheelchairs and other needed items to impoverished areas of the world through the Rotary Club.
Jayne loved life. She loved her family. She loved traveling and she continued that same zest for life to make it count until the very end. She just recently sent what will be her last book to her publisher. Given more time she had plans to produce several more books including one on toxic relationships and things you should know/consider when evaluating your partner before marriage.
Jayne gave her last presentation on the issues of high conflict divorce and custody at a conference a few months back. I spoke to her the night prior to the conference. She felt weak and was unsure if she could go through with the presentation. But she didn’t want to let anyone down. Jayne was like that. Promoters had gone to significant effort to sell out the event, Dr. Amy Baker another colleague and friend was flying out from the East Coast and Jayne wanted to hear Dr. Baker’s presentation as well as greet her old friend.
Jayne and I supported each others work. Providing information from different perspectives to the other. My background as a law enforcement officer influenced her paper on Costs, Causes and Controversies of Parental Alienation and Parental Alienation Syndrome. Her review of my work supported the development of my company. We also did several seminars together over the years and critiqued each others work.
We never did see eye to eye on everything especially politics. I was conservative Republican and she was a liberal Democrat. We finally decided for the sake of the friendship not to discuss politics. It was something we both said to each other again, in one of our last conversations we when I stopped by to see her recently.
Jayne was the founder and president of Stop Parental Alienation of Children, SPAC. Unable to continue as president as she struggled to deal with her cancer, she turned over the position to me. Together we continued to work towards the development of a documentary that we had originally filmed during a conference in Washington DC area several yeas ago on the issues. I promised Jayne I would finish that documentary and would somehow get the rest of the money needed to make it a reality.
Jayne and I did several interviews together on the Gregory Mantell Show along with other experts, parents, and victims of the divorce process on high conflict divorces. The shows were ultimately downloaded world wide. Gregory Mantell continued to forward emails years after the show was initially taped and over the proceeding episodes on the subject matter. Emails came from as far away as Australia, England others from Canada and across the country. Individuals seeking additional information and resources on the subject.
Jayne’s impact on everyone was such that you couldn’t help but become a friend which was also the case with Gregory Mantell. He too became a friend over the coarse of doing the shows and will likely present a tribute to her at her Memorial Service. He feels that he has in some small way contributed to her legacy as the shows will continue to be made available for downloading over the internet.
In the time leading up to her death, Jayne made arrangements for her work and research. She was committed to leaving a legacy for future generations to build on. She ensured that her work could be published and eliminated any possibility that lawsuits that interfere with the release of her work or could occur as a result of her death. She put her affairs in order and tried to go on her life as best she could and for as long as she could. Ultimately Jayne died the same way she had lived. With dignity surrounded by friends and those that loved her at her bedside.
I understand that the Los Angeles Times will be doing an article on Jayne’s life, her work and her research. I think that Jayne would like that. She would also be embarrassed by all of the attention. I can hear her now. “This is really silly. I don’t deserve all this fuss. ”
For my part, I will continue to cherish the opportunity that I had as a colleague and friend to this amazing woman. Thank you Jayne for everything. I will miss you.
Rest in peace. Dr. Jayne Major, July 22, 1937 – March 14, 2012.
You may email your request to post comments/testimonies for her Memorial Service by emailing her assistant firstname.lastname@example.org