Jane Juska, whose chronicle of searching for sex as a woman in her 60s became a best-selling memoir and later a stage show, has died. She was 84.
Juska died Tuesday at a Chico care facility after a long illness, her son, Andy Juska, told the San Francisco Chronicle on Saturday.
She was a retired and divorced schoolteacher living in Berkeley when she wrote her frank and funny book, “A Round-Heeled Woman: My Late-Life Adventures in Sex and Romance,” published in 2003.
The memoir grew out of a personal ad Juska placed in the New York Review of Books that read, “Before I turn 67, next March, I would like to have a lot of sex with a man I like. If you want to talk first, Trollope works for me.”
The ad was a success, leading to numerous flings — with men of all ages — that changed her life. Juska was enjoying herself so much that she felt the urge to share her experiences in print.
“I was just bubbling,” she told the Chronicle in a 2003 profile. She considered writing a novel, then discovered how liberating it was to stick to the truth. Her vignettes became the memoir, which was titled after a bygone term for a promiscuous woman.
The best-seller landed her on TV with Oprah Winfrey and Charlie Rose and was adapted into a one-woman show starring Sharon Gless that was performed in San Francisco, Miami and London.
“She was funny & brave,” Gless wrote in paying tribute to Juska on Twitter. “I loved her very much.”
In a second memoir, “Unaccompanied Women,” Juska recounted the loneliness in her life before conceiving of the ad.
Before becoming an author, Juska taught English for more than three decades, at Ygnacio Valley High School in Concord, Calif., Saint Mary's College of California and San Quentin State Prison.
In addition to her son, Juska is survived by her daughter-in-law, Mary; her sister, Sue; and two granddaughters.