The Janises smooch in front of their new yacht at the John Wayne Marina in Sequim. Jeff Chew/Peninsula Daily News

The Janises smooch in front of their new yacht at the John Wayne Marina in Sequim. Jeff Chew/Peninsula Daily News

A ‘Trophy Wife’ yacht helps to keep love’s fires burning for Sequim couple

SEQUIM — This is a love story about a retired Los Angeles lawyer who wildly embraces the life he almost lost and the “trophy wife” he credits for saving it.

She is no ordinary trophy wife, of course.

He is no status-quo husband, either.

So it was really no surprise that Jack Janis on Wednesday gave his wife, Jean Janis, a $200,000 27-foot yacht he named Trophy Wife for her.

“This is all I’ve got left,” Jack quipped, pulling his pockets inside-out next to the shiny boat still on its trailer in the John Wayne Marina parking lot.

A dime fell out onto the pavement next to his shoe, and Jean matter-of-factly told him that he’d better pick it up, saying, “You might need that.”

Jean is known in Sequim as the president of the Sequim-Dungeness Hospital Guild, which through its all-volunteer thrift shop raises thousands of dollars each year for the Seattle Children’s Hospital and Clallam County Fire District No. 3.

Jean also has become a Clallam County Master Gardener since the two moved to Carlsborg near the Dungeness River, where they share a home on 15 acres.

Her husband of 11 years insists on more of a mistress-suitor relationship than husband and wife.

He wants to keep love’s fires burning long into their twilight years — she being 67 and he 72.

“I told her if she started acting like a wife, it’s over,” he said. “I want her to be the mistress that she is.”

Jack pulled out a large business card that identifies the couple as “Capt. Jack & Mistress Jean Janis,” who together share “the estate of Wildwood.”

The trophy wife label suits Jean just fine.

“I like it,” she said.

“My girlfriends kid me,” she said, relaxing inside the boat that is loaded with everything from dual stern and bow propulsion to teak-wood finish and an auxiliary power generator.

She said her girlfriends ask how she likes being a trophy wife.

Jack describes Jean as a selfless person not caught up in herself and “a romantic, very sexy woman.”

Jack, who presented Jean with a 6-carat diamond ring before asking her to marry him, said any woman can wear a diamond ring and it will enhance her beauty.

“But in Jean’s case, when she gets ready for the evening, she complements the jewelry,” he said.

At the same time, he said, she gives to others without expecting anything in return.

“She knits hats for babies,” he said. “She knits from the heart. She is not a ‘me’ person.”

Coast Guard auxiliary members for five years, the two share a passion for yachting and have sailed the seas from the Panama Canal to Skagway, Alaska, in their 50-foot yacht, Crackerjack.

The boat was one of several seriously damaged when a boat docked nearby exploded Feb. 1 at John Wayne Marina, fatally injuring its owner.

The Janises await word from their insurance company, Lloyd’s of London, whether the trawler will be “totaled” or covered for repairs.

Jack credits his true love with saving his heart-troubled, unhealthy life as a stressed-out Los Angeles attorney years ago after they met in 1989.

Jean insisted that he get on a treadmill and be tested at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center hospital in Los Angeles, he said.

Together, they learned he had blockages in five arteries and only 2 percent blood supply to his brain.

He underwent open-heart surgery to mend the damage and was discouraged from practicing law thereafter.

He popped the question in her house at Passover after asking her Uncle Phil for permission to marry her.

After the wedding, they were aboard Crackerjack on their honeymoon cruise en route to Alaska in 2002 when someone suggested they check out Sequim.

Jack and the woman he describes as a “Beverly Hills girl” found they liked the place.

They purchased property off Taylor Cutoff Road in Carlsborg, fronting the Dungeness River.

He said the yacht launched Wednesday morning was built by a Kent company and is intended to look like a miniature tugboat.

They saw it at a boat show, and she liked it.

That’s when he decided to buy it and have it delivered to her for no special occasion other than to delight his bride.

“Trophy wives are very expensive,” he said. “You’ve got to maintain them.”

Jean said she already has plans for her seagoing gift, which Jack urges she put to good use.

Once windy weather clears, she said, the yacht will go through sea trials.

Then she will sail it to Victoria with some of her hospital guild and canasta-playing girlfriends she knows from Sequim Bay Yacht Club at the marina.

Then she hopes they can cruise to Friday Harbor.

The gift was not out of character for Jack.

Last December, Jean said she planned to lose 20 pounds.

“She didn’t need to; she looks great, but I said if you lose 20 pounds, I’ll buy you a Mercedes,” Jack said.

So, in a few months, they went to Seattle, where she found a used baby Mercedes.

When he pulled out his checkbook, he said she told him she’d pay for half of it but that he was to learn a lesson: “Don’t ever make a promise to a woman because she will never forget,” he said she said.


Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Jeff Chew can be reached at 360-681-2391 or at [email protected]

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