Jan was baptized and confirmed at Siloam Lutheran Church in Paulina, Iowa. She graduated from Sioux Rapids Community School in Sioux Rapids, Iowa. She knew she wanted to be a teacher at a very young age. After high school she attended Buena Vista College in Storm Lake, Iowa. She attended night and weekend classes while working in the student center to put herself through school.
She decided she wanted to see the city of Des Moines, Iowa, so she got a job at Banker’s Life Insurance Company. While working at Banker’s Life, they paid for her to attend Drake University to become an Actuarialist. This is where she realized she had excellent math skills. She attended Drake University for two and a half semesters. She then transferred to Peru State College and enrolled in the teacher’s program. She graduated in May of 1972 with a Bachelor’s in Social Studies and an endorsement in Education and Journalism. Jan earned her Master’s Degree in Adult and Continuing Education at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln in 1986.
Jan taught for four years at Small Foot Rural School. Small Foot was a one room schoolhouse and included grades K-8. In 1976 she moved to York and started working for the Department of Correctional Services, teaching Adult Basic Education and English as Second Language. She retired in June of 2013 after a 37 year career with the Department. She also worked for the York Public School system for 14 years, as the GED/ESL teacher for Adult Basic Education, also retiring in June of 2013.
Jan was an active member of First Evangelical Lutheran Church in York, where she taught Sunday School, was the Choir Director for a number of years, served on the Church Council and many other committees. She was also involved with Toastmaster’s and was a member of Delta Kappa Gamma Sorority, Inc.
Jan believed that no matter whom you were, where you were from, or what your current circumstances were, everyone was entitled to an excellent education. She would tell students, that it would not matter what career they chose to pursue, just make sure that you, “Love what you do.” Jan truly and passionately, “Loved what she did.”
Jan is survived by her daughter, Jennifer Wright and son-in-law Anthony Sheppard of York; four grandchildren, Kevin Wright, Adam Wright, Mikel Sheppard and Kortnie Sheppard of York; two brothers, Gary (Cindy) Axdahl of Linn Grove, Iowa and Robert (Lori) Axdahl of Nora Springs, Iowa and one sister, Judy (Dale) Mills of Nora Springs, Iowa. Janice is also survived by her Aunt, Elsbeth Richter of Lime Springs, Iowa; nieces, nephews, other family and numerous friends. She was preceded in death by her parents.
Funeral services are scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 5, 2014, at First Evangelical Lutheran Church in York with Pastor Terry Cosier officiating. Interment with Honor Guard will be held at the Greenwood Cemetery in York. Visitation will be held from 1-9 p.m. on Thursday and 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. on Friday at the mortuary. The family will greet friends from 7-8:30 p.m., Friday evening. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the family for later designation.