Obituary: Kirkcaldy teacher Renia Janas remembered ‘with much fondness.’

Renia loved skydiving
Renia loved skydiving

Former Kirkcaldy High School English teacher Renia Janas has died at the age of 68.

Renia, who was born in Poland and moved to Hull with her family aged three, taught at the school for 31 years from 1973.

As well as English, she was renowned for her extra curricular drama classes, staging productions by her beloved William Shakespeare, as well as being a skilled wardrobe mistress.

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She took busloads of pupils to Scottish theatres and inspired many many with a love of theatre which never left them.

Renia directed the biennial musical productions such as The King and I and The Sound of Music, pushing pupils to be the best they could be.

In addition she always loved dancing and never missed a school dance, “whooshing” the pupils who asked her and pulling up some of the more reluctant ones.

When Renia’s family came to Fife theyinitially settled in Crosshill before moving to Kirkcaldy where she was a pupil at Kirkcaldy High School from 1961.

She studied English, psychology and the Classics at St Andrews University – the third female generation of her family to do so – marking the accomplishment by wearing her grandmother’s red gown.

Her first teaching post was at Buckhaven High, but after three months she jumped at the chance to return to KHS where she spent the next three decades doing a job she loved. Before retiring she worked at Osborne House School, teaching English, media and Latin.

She married John Murphy and the couple adopted their two daughters Jayne and Wendy, living in a house in Dalgety Bay which she helped design.

They later separated and Renia took up skydiving, fire-eating and juggling as well as bagging Munros. She also sang with Kirkcaldy Choral Society.

After leaving the school she was not idle but trained in Reiki, aromatherapy and massage, helping people with a variety of problems.

Having previously been told that she didn’t have the lips for playing a brass instrument, she proved them wrong by learning the tuba and joining Dysart Brass Band, with which she won several medals!

When Renia joined her partner Eunice Cameron at Osborne House School, they made it not jurst a place to live with a school attached, but made sure it lived up to its name, growing apples, pears and raspberries, making cider and keeping hens and bees and giving much of the produce to friends and family.

Renia and Eunice were together 24 years and married in November in the hospice where she spent her final weeks.

Eunice said: “Renia lived a very full life, always giving her best and never afraid to try anything.

“She was well liked by her many pupils who will never forget her influence.

“She inspired her friends with her constant enthusiasm and accomplishments and will be missed by all who knew her.”

Derek Allan, rector of KHS, added: “Although she taught here before my time, I know from several staff still here that Renia was greatly respected and very well liked. Her colleagues and friends remember her as a warm, sociable and compassionate woman with a great sense of humour. I know that many former pupils will also remember her with much fondness.”

She is survived by Eunice, her two daughters and five grandchildren.

Renia’s funeral will take place at Kirkcaldy crematorium on February 14 at 3pm.