A sad day for Universal Orlando

Yesterday it has been a very sad day for Universal Orlando, as the Vice-president of the resort, Jan Stratton died, just at 54 years old. She also worked for the Walt Disney Company for many years.
More information about this tragic event, from the Orlando Sentinel:

Jan Stratton, Universal Orlando vice president, dies at 54

Photo copyright of the Orlando Sentinel.
Jan Stratton, an executive at Universal Orlando and mainstay of local charitable and civic groups, died Sunday after being removed from life support. She was 54.

Orange County deputy sheriffs responded to her Bay Hill home about 11 a.m. Saturday after a family member reported a self-inflicted gunshot wound, sheriff's spokesperson Jim Solomons said.

She was transported to Orlando Regional Medical Center, where she died.

Stratton was vice president of community and diversity relations at Universal Orlando, responsible for the company's charitable giving, community events and minority relations.

"Jan Stratton's fingerprints were on so many things," said long-time friend and associate Dick Batchelor. "This is so surreal because she gave so much to so many people in this community."

She served on boards for many organizations, including Give Kids the World, the Valencia Community College Foundation, the Orlando Regional Healthcare Foundation, Arnold Palmer Children's Hospital Advisory Board, African American Chamber of Commerce, Central Florida Urban League, Florida's Independent Living Advisory Council, Association of Corporate Contributions Professionals, City of Life, Orlando Children's Trust Committee, Harbor House of Central Florida, and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Community groups received hundreds of thousands of dollars in corporate donations earmarked by Stratton.

"Jan was a woman of enormous heart. She had a great passion for helping the families of our community," said Universal Orlando spokesman Tom Schroder. "She will be forever missed."

Pam Landwirth, president of Give Kids the World, which hosts more than 5,000 families with ill children each year, first met Stratton 30 years ago when they worked for Walt Disney World.

"Jan cared so deeply and passionately about children," Landwirth said Sunday evening. "She just drew you in and you knew it was genuine. She genuinely cared."

David Odahowski, president and CEO of the Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation, said he knew Stratton for 20 years and will remember her and her trademark red business suit with black trim.

"There is no one more passionate and professional in her work," Odahowski said. "She is a great advocate for children and champion of the Second Harvest Food Bank."

Before coming to Universal in 1996, the University of Central Florida alumnus worked for the Walt Disney Company for 21 years. Stratton was named Business Woman of the Year by the Orlando Business Journal in 2000 and by the Orlando Rotary Club in 2004. In 2007, Stratton was the recipient of the Summit Award by the Women's Resource Center.

Stratton is survived by her husband, Jack Cudworth, and two sons, James and Michael.

"The way to celebrate her life is to continue giving and supporting the causes she cared so much about," said Batchelor, who hosts an annual 5K foot race to support abused children. "It will be a void that will be very, very hard to fill."

Her death remains under investigation, according to the sheriff's office.

We are all very sad for this, and we are near her family and friends.
All pictures and information are subject to the copyright of the Orlando Sentinel®. All rights reserved.


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