Two women whose passion in life was unflinching and infectious, and I was lucky enough to know

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Daryl-Ann Dartt Hurst, left, and Janice Gardner. (Courtesy photos)

Two women whom I was lucky enough to know and admired for their passion in their respective fields, died this week.

Daryl-Ann Dartt Hurst, a dynamo in abstract art who had many shows throughout the Northern Seacoast and beyond, died on Thursday of cancer. She was 62.

Janice Gardner, of Dover, was a longtime breeder of dogs, including Dachshunds, which she showed and won prizes with. Janice died Tuesday at the age of 79.

Hurst was an exuberant artist, full of passion and precision in her craft.

When I spoke with her about art it was like a baseball rookie being schooled by Babe Ruth.

When she showed me a few of her paintings, I remarked how I liked her older works, which were often more traditional paintings. She almost rolled her eyes. She was way beyond that.

We stayed in touch over the years primarily through Facebook, where she supported my efforts to publicize my novel Freak the News and I followed her illustrious career as a locally renowned artistic force.

Daryl was a gentle, deep and profound soul.

I first met Janice when I was the HomeLife section editor at Foster's Sunday Citizen and she wrote a weekly pets column.

Through editing her columns for several years I learned quickly her knowledge of rearing dogs was extensive.

When I told her one time I had brought home an American Timberwolf given me by a friend and was looking forward to training it, she was aghast. You've bitten off way more than you can chew, she told me sternly. It's going to take thousands of dollars to get that dog trained if you're even lucky enough to find someone to do it.

A few weeks later I realized she was correct. After I was told by a veterinarian that it was an Alpha female and wouldn't be safe around my young children, I realized I had to let it go.

I was lucky enough to be able to find someone to take it off my hands.

Janice was not only an expert on dogs and canine behavior. She was a scrupulously correct writer and grammarian. Her columns when they came in were "clean" as we say in journalism circles.

Two women who brought unflinching passion to their fields and whose knowledge and wisdom will be sorely missed.

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