Obituary: Janet Johnson resident of Grange Lane Burghwallis
As many of you will know Jan was an only child born to Elfie and Ken and lived and grew up locally within a close-knit extended family at 5 Lane Ends. For a time, Janet went to the Convent Collegiate school but then went to Percy Jackson Grammar School where I am told she was a free spirit who could be a bit of a rebel. She had a wide circle of friends with whom she liked going out. After leaving school Jan went to work at Taylor, Glover and Hill where she trained as a legal secretary. She moved on to Taylor Bracewell and eventually to Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council.
Jan’s first marriage to Clive was brief – sadly, this was brought to an end by his death. But in the 1970’s Jan met Alan through mutual friends. He proposed to her in the most romantic of settings at the Parthenon in Athens while they were on their first holiday together. They married in 1991 and moved to Burghwallis where they set up a lovely home and have lived ever since. Jan and Alan both worked and enjoyed many holidays together travelling to Canada and America and often with their parents.
Jan loved socializing; going out for meals with her friends and always being a kind and generous presence. Since her death many people have told me how they remember Jan bringing her mum here to church. Alan told me about her artistic and creative side: she was a talented sketcher and had a keen appreciation of art. She was also very much up to speed with new technologies and loved to keep in touch with her friends and family through social media. Indeed, her wide circle of friends was very much part of her life; linking together her time at school and at work. And, of course, she was still working although much of her time had been taken up lately with caring for her new cat Tito – so called because he first dipped his toe into her tea.
As Alan told me, Jan had that great capacity to light up a room when she came in; revealing a bubbly and vivacious personality. Jan always remained close to her parents and was always rather protective of them particularly when times were difficult. Moira told me about the good memories they had of being with her particularly during the period following the death of her parents and how this meant she had seen happier days recently; which is not surprising given the importance that family life has always had for Jan.
Jan had had bouts of ill health through her life but had always faced these difficulties with stoicism and courage. Although, I am told, she also took some delight in relating all the details. But, as you will be aware Jan’s death came as the result of an accident and so was unexpected and shocking. Alan had been the last person she spoke to and so to return home to find out what had happened has been a deeply traumatic experience for him and our thoughts and prayers are with him at this time.
When a loved one dies there is always a range of difficult emotions to be faced in coping with grief. The sense of anger and loss, guilt because we have survived, and also sometimes numbness when it seems impossible to feel anything. These are all natural responses which are heightened when a death is sudden and we are unprepared.
The Christian hope, of course, is that death is not the end. In Jesus, God became like us so that we might be like him: he died as we die so that we might rise again as he rose again. In our reading today, we heard of love as strong as death, passion fierce as the grave. That is what binds us all – our love for those we have lost and God’s love that unites us all living and departed in the one communion. We are reminded that that rain shall pass and a better time shall come.
As we have heard Jan was a woman of faith. She worshipped many times here in this church and, in this service, I shall commend her to the care of God her heavenly father. I shall also say the prayer; “Remember for good this your servant Janet as we also remember her.” And there is much good to remember: Jan’s love for Alan, for her family, her creativity and her friendship.
May Janet this day rest in peace and may she rise in glory.