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by Kevin Coupe

The first time I met Jane Golub had to be more than 20 years ago. I was at a Price Chopper store in upstate New York, scheduled to do a piece - I cannot remember whether it was for print or video - about a new sampling program that it had implemented. My guide for the day was Jane Golub, an integral and energetic member of the family that owned the company, and even today I recall her energy and enthusiasm being outsized, especially in comparison to her diminutive size.

I had a great time that day. I don’t remember anything about the sampling program, but I sure remember Jane - from that time on, I always thought of her as a friend, not just as a retailer, not just as the wife of Price Chopper’s CEO, Neil Golub.

Jane is on my mind because she passed away this week. She was 80, and had fallen ill on the west coast while attending an LPGA tournament there with her husband of 56 years.

Before going to work in the family business, Jane was a longtime school teacher - we bonded over the fact that like Mrs. Content Guy, she taught third grade. She brought a fierce passion for education and a dedication to service to every facet of her life. That’s part of why she was involved in the company’s sampling programs - it wasn’t about selling so much as it was about educating.

In her time with Price Chopper and Golub Corp., Jane earned a reputation as a peerless philanthropist - she helped to shape many of the educational and health care initiatives that define upstate New York and especially the Albany region. She was the educational coordinator for “A World of Difference,” a project led by the Anti-Defamation League of the Capital Region. She and Neil helped to raise tens of millions of dollars for Ellis Hospital, and donated millions of their own to the hospital and other area charities.

She also was a cancer survivor who never seemed to let that define her - along with Neil, she was an indefatigable golfer.

But for me, whenever I think of Jane, it is of the mischievous twinkle that she always seemed to have in her eyes … she always seemed to be happy to be wherever she was, determined to enjoy the moment and connect with the people around her. For a number of years, I (along with Michael Sansolo) used to host a party during the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) shows in Chicago and Las Vegas … we’d take over venues like Margaritaville in Vegas or the late, lamented Bin 36 in Chicago, and just have a party - no agenda, no sales pitches. Neil and Jane were always there, they always brought a contingent of Price Chopper folks, and they were always supportive and enthusiastic and, I think, a little amused at me trying to fight above my weight class.

I’ll also tell you this. I’ve been around a lot of people over the years who have been married a long time, and I have never, ever seen two people who remained as much in love with each other as Jane and Neil Golub. They started going out in college, at the University of Michigan, and it was the start of a long and passionate love affair. Occasionally I’d spend time with Neil, looking at stores, and he’d always talk about “Miss Jane,” clearly the love of his life.

I know Neil will miss her greatly, as will the entire Golub family and the family of associates at Price Chopper. I join them in that … she was important to me, and she made me believe - as I’m sure she did with many people that she touched in her 80 years - that I was important to her. That’s a rare gift.

A funeral service is scheduled for Tuesday at Temple Gates of Heaven Synagogue in Schenectady, NY.
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