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Life Story / Obituary
Janice Brown lived a life rich in family and faith. With a warm smile and a servant’s heart, Janice was quick to offer her time and talents and to welcome others into her life. A devoted wife, mother, grandmother, and friend, Janice embodied her faith and lived each day as a gift to be treasured. In so doing, she was a powerful example of how to live a wholehearted life for all who were blessed to know her. Cherished by many, Janice will long be missed and lovingly remembered.
With the rearming of US forces the strains of the Great Depression began to ease in 1940. Americans’ incomes grew and their increased spending further fueled the economy. In the US the optimism of leaving the depression behind inspired the making of several classic movies including "Gone With the Wind" and the "Great Dictator," while the invigorating sounds of Benny Goodman and Count Basie’s Jazz filled our homes with hope. Newly invented Nylon stockings were all the rage with women and FDR was elected for an unprecedented third term. Despite the ominous winds of change blowing in from Europe, the foundation of hope and generosity our nation had firmly rooted itself in as a result of the preceding decade’s hardships could not be shaken. It was within this overwhelming feeling of fortitude, generosity, and hope that Clinton and Edythe (Parrish) Ransom welcomed their daughter Janice into their hearts and lives on July 17.
Growing up in a loving home in South Haven, Michigan, Janice’s lifelong love affair with Lake Michigan began in her very first days. Her best childhood days were spent combing the beach, riding the waves, and experiencing the wonders of the big lake. Regardless of weather, time of day, or season, Lake Michigan never disappointed. It was a love she readily shared with others throughout her lifetime including her children and grandchildren.
Janice’s early years also forged her unwavering faith. Church was the cornerstone of her life and often the source of her many blessings. As a teen, Janice was blessed to meet her husband Robert during a church retreat. Instantly smitten, the pair were quickly a couple setting their eyes on a future spent in one another’s good company. On August 18, 1958, just about a month after her 18th birthday, Janice and Robert exchanged their wedding vows.
In time, the happy couple was blessed with six children. After joyfully welcoming five boys into their family, Janice was especially delighted to give birth to her daughter, Jennifer. While Bob provided for the family through his work at General Motors Fisher Body in Comstock, Janice proudly took on the responsibilities of raising the children and running the home. Faith was the center of family life. Each day began with reading her Bible and saying the morning’s prayers. She taught her children to be honest and forgiving, to never hold a grudge and to be quick to apologize. She loved the word of God and embodied the principles of her faith. In so doing, she proved a powerful inspiration and role model.
A woman of many interests, one of her great loves was reading. When her children were young she made it a regular practice to read the Bible stories and fairy tales to them. In time, each of the kids knew all the stories by heart. Janice also loved music. Anything with a violin, and of course, church hymns filled her heart with delight. Bob, who was a gifted craftsman, even made a few violins for her.
She was always on the move and ready for adventure. Many a day, Bob would arrive home from work to find that Janice had the car packed and ready to go to the beach at South Haven. Many vacations were taken at the family homestead in Grayling, and each year when the shop would close down, she and Bob would load up the car with the kids and head south where they would find a hotel and enjoy some family time. While it was never a fancy affair, it was always a time where treasured family memories would be made. Janice had an open door policy and always welcomed company. She was a master at cooking up a meal for a large group at the last minute. Whether baked chicken or a tasty roast and potatoes, there was always plenty for everyone, and no one ever left her table hungry.
As her children grew into adulthood and began families of their own, Janice’s support remained steadfast. She never interfered with their parenting and was always the first to celebrate her children’s and grandchildren’s accomplishments. She relished in teaching her grandchildren to swim, just as she had taught her children years before, and continuing to gather as a family at the homestead in Grayling. Though she and Bob took a wonderful trip to Europe, Janice’s greatest joy was always found in time spent with her loved ones. Whether gathered around the table for a meal, putting their toes in the sand at the lakeshore, or curling up with a good book together, life was best when shared with a loved one.
Though it is difficult to imagine life in the absence of Janice’s steadfast presence, may our many sweet memories afford deep comfort. May it also afford comfort to know that we carry the best of Janice’s legacy in our hearts. With each morning we begin in prayer, stone we skip across the surface of the lake, warm welcome we extend to another, and hymn we join our voice in singing, we celebrate Janice’s life and give gratitude for having the privilege of sharing it with her.
Janice died peacefully on Wednesday, October 30, 2019 at Rose Arbor Hospice.
Members of her family include her 6 Children: Randy (Linda) Brown of Ontario, Ricky (Paula) Brown of Portage, Ken (Beth) Brown of Ontario, Clint (Dawn) Brown of Paw Paw, Shane (Pina Patel) Brown of Omaha NE, Jennifer Brown of Kalamazoo; 17 grandchildren; 8 great-grandchildren; siblings: Karen (Les) Dalrymple, Brent (Mavis) Ransom, Dwight (Marsha) Ransom; In-Laws: David (Gerri) Brown, Richard (Nancy) Brown, Ron (Lily) Brown, Marilyn (Glenn) Bell. She was preceded in death by her husband Robert George Brown in 2018 and Dave and Bonnie Wilson.
Visit with family and friends on Saturday, November 2, 2019 from 11am-1pm at the Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive; Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900 where services will be held at 1 pm. Burial will follow at West Oshtemo Cemetery. Please visit Janice’s personal web page at www.BetzlerLifeStory.com, where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign her online guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial donations may be made to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan.