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Janet Lenore Smith September 19, 1936 - December 1, 2021

Janet Lenore Smith was born on September 19, 1936, and went to be with our Lord on December 1, 2021. She was born and raised in Butte, Montana, and graduated from Butte Central High School in 1955. Mostly known as Jan, she pursued her love for nursing and attended Carroll College, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing in 1958 and then became a Registered Nurse.

Armed with her degree and a strong desire to positively change lives, Jan’s impact on the world around her was just getting started. Without a doubt, it was impossible for anyone who came in contact with her to ever be the same again. Jan’s infectious smile and genuine love for people were God-given gifts that immediately made others feel better about their own lives. No matter what the situation entailed, Jan’s ability to put things in perspective created a confident peace in those around her.

Nowhere was this more evident than in the lives of her beautiful family. While Jan’s devotion to nursing and her patients was always a big part of her life, nothing was more powerful than the love she had for her family. Simply put…Jan’s family was her life. She was simply wonderful to each and every one of them.

Jan married Leon Willis in 1958, and they subsequently moved to Wisconsin, then Colorado, and finally to Seattle. While Leon attended dental school and established his practice, Jan focused her time and energy on her greatest passion of all…her family. The impact Jan had on her four boys and three girls cannot be captured in a word or phrase. Jan’s combination of loyalty, strength, joy, perseverance, and her contagious passion for life created an unbreakable bond with her children. Whether it be a phone call, a quick cup of coffee, or an impromptu visit at all hours of the day or night, Jan was always available for her kids, grandchildren, friends or neighbors. No matter what the circumstance, she loved them unconditionally…and they all knew it.

As the years went by and the kids began to grow, Jan went back to work and immediately used her passion for nursing to impact the people around her. Initially, Jan worked at an alcohol treatment center, where her genuine empathy for her patients was just one of the many gifts she put into action. Jan then went on to work as a school nurse and once again, she was touching the lives of many. She was the perfect school nurse, as her desire to help young people was apparent right from the start. The love Jan showed for her own children carried right over to the school, and once again, her relentless pursuit to make a positive difference was hitting its mark. The lives of those around her would never be the same again.

She ended her nursing career working for Island county as a nurse, serving all the San Juan Islands giving well checks and immunizations for newborns & adults.

Nearing retirement, Jan married John Brian Smith where they built a house in the San Juan Islands of Washington State. Jan lived there for 25 years. Many fond memories exist of Jan serving and hosting kids, grandkids, family and friends visiting her on the island.

Jan’s wit was unsurpassed right up until her final days. When any of the kids would worry about their own family, she would say, “Times seven!” which meant for them to take the worry and times it by seven kids. Today, her kids all have a chat group called “Times Seven.” When everyone would get together, they’d sing a silly Karen Carpenter song. Even with her Alzheimer’s, Jan could remember the words to the whole song, which was just another incredible example of the connection she had with her kids…one that began right from the start.

Part of the song would say, “On the day you were born, the angels got together and decided to create a dream come true.” Jan Smith…you were truly a dream come true for all who were privileged enough to experience your love.

Toward the end of her life, Jan suffered from Alzheimer’s but the sparkle in her eyes continued to light up the room. Each and every day, she touched the lives of fellow residents and staff members and continued to inspire anyone she came in contact with…she absolutely refused to let that awful disease get the best of her!

On December 1st, surrounded by her beautiful family, Jan took her final breath. While an incredible peace engulfed the room, everyone looked on with an admiration that came from within. Jan was everyone’s hero, and now Jesus has welcomed her home.

Jan is survived by her first husband Leon Willis; her children: John Willis (Nada Jean), Jodi Elder (Jeff), James, Joe, Jeff Willis (Laura), Julie Wilgus (Mike), Jean Horan; sister-in-law Marilyn McMahon (James); brother in-law Owen Bush; her nephews, Bob Bush (Karen) and Jim McMahon (Tracy); her niece, Debi Flora (Chuck), 10 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her parents (Leonard R. and Emma Goodland); her grandparents (Hugo and Emma Fahle); her husband John Brian Smith; her sister (Helen M. Bush); her son-in-law (Walter F. Horan III).

We would like to thank the entire staff at Crista Senior Living, where they provided excellent care for Jan the last couple years of her life. Their love for our mom will never be forgotten, as their unique combination of patience and compassion made a very difficult situation much easier.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Crista Senior Living, 19312 Kings Garden Drive North, Shoreline, WA 98133, in honor of this facility and caregivers that blessed our mother.

A Celebration of Life Service will be held at a date yet to be determined.

Last modified onThursday, 16 December 2021 20:51