Born in Olney, Texas in 1937, Jan is an only child. Her biological father worked in the oil fields and was divorced from Jan’s mother early on. Her mom enrolled her in Catholic boarding school in the third grade. The nuns took her in at the Academy of Wichita Falls and she stayed there until she was 13 years old. The school cost $60/month at that time. Her mom later married an Air force pilot and they moved around a lot. She attended four different high schools in four different states. After graduating, she decided to go to a business college in Delaware.
This smartphone-savvy-senior is very outgoing and extremely social. She loves to tell jokes and even told me a couple while we were in the middle of our interview. Jan is extremely generous and often brings food to other folks in the community she lives in who are sick or not able to get out.
Previously, Jan worked as an office manager of an insurance company. One of her good friends was Bernice Moncrief, the founder of Hospice. They traveled on the QE2 together through England, Morocco, and Spain. While on this trip she met her future husband, Jim; he proposed to her on the second night after meeting her. She told him, “We’ll consider this.” Jim worked for the State Department at that time. In order to convince Jan to accept his proposal, at each of the ports he would send her flowers and cables saying, “I love you” and “Marry me.” I guess it worked, because they were married in 1984. His nickname for her was, “Angel Face.” Following the cruise, Jim met up with Jan at La Guardia Airport and asked her to come meet his friends in Washington, DC. They got married three days later. Jan moved all her things from Houston and started working for the State Department as well. She worked there for 16 years. One of her favorite projects was the one where she worked with a team that built the Embassy in Moscow. Unfortunately, Jim passed away in 1991 due to cancer. She buried him in the Arlington National Cemetery alongside her parents.
In 1998, Jan was still in DC working in the antique dealing business. She would buy and sell at antique shows, but she never had a shop. It was here that she met a man named Joe through a dating service. Joe worked for IBM at the time. They decided to move to Texas because her kids were there. She moved to Grand Prairie and bought a house; Joe followed soon after. He was a very loving husband. Every night, Joe would take her hand and say “thank you for everything you did for me today.” Jan refers to him as a sweet, sweet man. Jan decided to retire in 2000 and after two years in Grand Prairie, the couple decided to relocate to Florida to Port St. Lucie. When Joe got sick in 2012 they moved back to Texas to Robson Ranch. In 2013, Joe passed away from Alzheimer’s.
Jan had a dog named Samantha who was her best friend for 13 years. One day, in a vicious dog attack, Samantha was killed. Jan broke her arm and knee trying to save her. After that, Jan decided it was time to move into a senior community.
Despite the tragedies Jan faced: losing two husbands to cancer and one to Alzheimer’s and losing her sweet dog, Samantha, Jan is happy and has a positive attitude. Her advice to others is to “do good and be good and be kind to each other.” She said that she “can’t be ugly to anyone.”
Jan has a daughter in Watauga, a son in Cedar Hill and another daughter near Corsicana. Jan is a true believer of enjoying life and she told me that “If you can do something and indulge yourself, do it. Life is too short to wait. After all, you’re dead a long time.” One of her favorite indulgences is Pappadeaux cheesecake. She also loves their steak and lobster.
Jan stays busy spending time with friends and family. One of the things she loves to do is put together style shows in the community where she lives. Through that, she gets to work with local designers and boutiques which she enjoys. Spending an afternoon with Jan is both inspiring and motivating; she embodies a spirit of fun and adventure and it is a joy to be around her.