Sara Jill Jahansoozi

Born 18th May, 1945 in Worthing, Sussex to Eileen and Tony Godwin, peacefully passed away on 14th December 2023 in Victoria, B.C. Her life was a vibrant journey spanning continents and experiences, marked by resilience, love, and an artistic spirit. In her early years, Jill, as she was fondly known, grew up alongside her sister Jenny, first in Worthing, before relocating to Putney, South London, in 1947. The Godwin family later settled in Hythe, Kent, near Saltwood, where Jill’s father, a trailblazer in the publishing world, commuted to London where he founded Better Books on Charing Cross Road and subsequently became chief editor of Penguin books.

During this period, her parents separated and both remarried. Her father resided in London, marrying Fay (nee Simmonds) and had two sons, Nicholas and Jeremy. Meanwhile, her mother, having married George Wigley, relocated to Surrey, and had a son, Charles.

Despite the challenges of her parents’ separation, Jill excelled at St Mary’s Convent boarding school in Folkestone. Here her love for reading developed, becoming a lifelong passion. Leaving school at 16, Jill worked briefly at her father’s bookshop, where poetry readings and ‘happenings’ took place with the likes of Allen Ginsburg and Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Afterwards, enrolling in Lucie Clayton school, she found little interest in typing, but relished the fashion and cookery side. Her fashionable sense of style and love for cooking for friends became defining facets of her character.

In 1963 Jill married her beloved Saman Jahansoozi, a chemical engineer and geologist. They moved to South West Iran and later to Tehran, where Jill embraced the challenges of a new culture while raising her young children Kaveh and Julia. In 1977, just before the Revolution, Jill returned to the U.K with Kaveh and Julia while Saman secured a job in Calgary. Initially residing in her father’s secluded holiday cottage in Wales, she forged enduring friendships with a neighbouring farming family. They became her pillars of support during a challenging and isolating period. Upon Saman’s return they relocated to Hastings in 1979, purchasing a sprawling coastal residence perched atop cliffs overlooking the sea where they spent several happy years. Eventually the couple embarked on a new chapter in Canada, finally calling Victoria, BC their home in 1989. An artist at heart, Jill set about decorating “Tanglewood Cottage” on Clawthorpe Street, hand painting the interior with floral motifs, mythical creatures, Middle Eastern characters and other symbols. Her much admired artistic handiwork has been featured in the Times Colonist newspaper.

Jill is survived by her husband Saman, son Kaveh, daughter Julia and sister Jenny McEwan, three half brothers Nicholas, Jeremy and Charles, grandson Saman (Canada) and in Spain, granddaughter Soraya, grandson Kaveh Jr., great grandson Jesús, great granddaughters Alzahera and Vera. Jill’s warmth and artistic personality endeared her to all who knew her, creating lasting friendships wherever she went. She will be profoundly missed by us all.

A memorial will be held in the spring. Updates available from:

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Condolence Messages

  1. Elizabeth Johnson

    It was a joy to know Jill at Tanglewood cottage. She was always gracious and welcoming. She was so talented and humble. I loved the way she always focused on the positive.

  2. Jill, my beautiful friend. Life and beauty profilerated around you, emanated from you in art, in gardens, in music, in clothing, in walks, in conversation. You are in my heart forever.

  3. Jill, dearest friend who will always have a place in my heart. A beautiful person, a gifted artist and a wonderful homemaker together with Saman, their hospitality was unsurpassed. She is most sadly missed by us all.

  4. Nick Godwin (half brother)

    Jill was a one off, vibrant, beautiful and creative. When I was a kid, and Jill already grown up, she was such fun, so full of life and ideas and so always welcoming. Sadly I saw less of Jill when the family moved to Canada but I cherish those early memories and shall miss her.

  5. Jill was a one off, vibrant, beautiful and creative. When I was a kid, and Jill already grown up, she was such fun, so full of life and ideas and so always welcoming. Sadly I saw less of Jill when the family moved to Canada but I cherish those early memories and shall miss her.

  6. I can only echo my brothers sentiments I rarely saw Jill but when I did she was allways such fun spontaneous company,I allways felt I could be myself in her company as she lived life without the usual filters and her spontaneous sense of humour was allways fun to be around, light as a butterfly’s wing. I will miss her

  7. I’m sad to say I barely knew my half sister Jill. I probably only met her two or three times over the last 40 years. Sometimes distance and the nature of families will do this.

    But even from afar I sensed from conversations with my other half sister Jenny that she was a delightful, highly artistic and slightly bohemian lady. Despite the sadness of the end of her life it was clear that she had led a rich and full existence as a mother, artist, wife and traveller. She had lived to the full and none of us can ask for more than that. Much love. Charles

  8. Karen Skowron (Parker)

    Oh, Sam, I read about Jill’s passing in the Times Colonist yesterday and learned about her life before I met her in Victoria at Tanglewood Cottage on Clawthorpe Ave. So many shared memories! All best to you and your family. She was truly amazing.

  9. Diane Braithwaite

    I worked with Jill for many years in the Geography office at the University of Victoria. Although an office was not the kind of setting in which she felt most comfortable, she brought warmth and elegance to the place while she was there. Jill was one of the loveliest people I’ve ever known. I have one of her hand-painted cup-and-saucers, unfortunately broken, but positioned on my fireplace mantle so the break can’t be seen. I think so fondly of her whenever I see it.

  10. I too worked with Jill in the Geography Department for many years. One of the kindest, most welcoming and generous people I’ve known in the 44 years I’ve been at UVic, especially with newcomers and International students.

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