Jan Baross (b. 1943)

Jan Baross was born on February 5, 1943 in Bakersfield, California; she had one brother, Dr. Thomas Meadoff. Her fatherDr. Nathan Meadoff was born in Gomel (now in Belarus) and came to the US as a young child. Her mother Estelle Kaplan Meadoff was born in Memphis, Tennessee. They metat UCLA. The household was a secular one, and Jan was permitted to stop going to Sunday school at a young age but the family continued to gather in Los Angeles for the High Holidays and Passover.

She graduated from Bakersfield High School and went on to a series of college experiences at San Francisco State, USC, Berkeley, and finally back to San Francisco. She studied art and became involved in student protests, where she met and married John Baross, a graduate student in marine microbiology. They moved to Corvallis, Oregon together in 1971 when John got a postdoctoral position there. Jan continued in school and received a masters degree in Media from Oregon State University. 

Jan found work making films for the University, and found she had a talent for film making. She started making independent films and connected with the film society in Portland. In 1985, after divorcing from her husband, she moved to Portland and became an active member of the film community with Gus Van Sant, Will Vinton, Jim Blashfield, Joanna Priestley, and Joan Gratz, among others.

She pursued other arts as well, with an active play-writing, animation, and painting career. She spent half of each year in Portland and half in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, where she is an active part of the arts community and the Jewish community of ex-pats in Mexico. In Portland she illustrated for the Jewish Review newspaper, completed a film on Oregon Jewish history, and has stayed involved in the arts and film making communities.

Many of Jan’s works of film are in the collection of the OJMCHE, as well as her first novel, Jose Builds a Woman.