Janice Violette Crowley 1936 - 2012
by Jack Crowley
(Leonardtown, MD USA)
A DASH BETWEEN TWO DATES
Janice Violette Crowley
1936 - 2012
As we are gathered to celebrate Janices life, I’m reminded that each of us have contributed to the hidden stories represented by the dash chiseled between the dates of her life. This simple seemingly insignificant symbol will indicate 1936 - 2012 on her marker, leaving many to ponder what happened between those years represented by a dash? Each of you here today played a large part in sharing your life with her, which all together contributed in making Janice the person, Mother, wife, lover, and friend that she was.
I would like to help expand that DASH for you with something that will help you understand the woman I knew, loved, married and spent my whole life with, Janice.
We all know Jan was born in 1936, in Newburyport, MA to David and Francis Violette. After a few years in Newburyport their family moved to Cambridge, MA so David could be closer to his work. They maintained a small home in Salisbury, MA which David was left by his family and which he and his brother and father built from a Sears Roebuck catalog.
I came to know Jan when we started first grade at the Agassiz Grammar school in Cambridge in 1942. We were both at the ripe old age of 6. Even at that age it was hard to ignore a pretty girl, blonde, and with long pigtails that extended down to the middle of her back. Over the next eight years we shared those formidable learning years together, where I quickly realized how smart she was and how much I liked dirt, trucks, and sports. It was during those years that I also realized how much Jan loved animals. She won a National essay contest which awarded her with a pure breed golden cocker spaniel as first prize. Many times she walked past my home with that beautiful dog. I believe this must have been the beginning of her love of animals, especial dogs and cats. Throughout her life she also had a passion for horses and spent quite a few weekends at a dude ranch in western Massachusetts learning and riding. Also during this time she was quite active in modern dance, piano and ignoring me.
Upon entering High School in 1950, Janice attended Cambridge High and Latin, I attended the Rindge Technical HS right across the street and we didn’t see much of each other during those years except in passing or local church functions. Upon graduation from high school in 1954, Janice entered the Boston Secretarial School for two years obtaining an Associate degree and being proficient in short hand. Upon graduation in 1957 she joined the staff at Harvard University in the admissions office.
In 1958 Jan met this dreamy eyed, tall blond, wise in the world and newly returned from 4 years in the US Navy. After dating forever and falling in mad love she finally agreed to marry this gentleman who had promised her the world. Silly girl! We were married at the Chapel in the Harvard yards on April 18th, 1959, Jan continued to work at Harvard, and I was hired at The First Boston Bank of Boston, investment office in the communications section. We moved to Malden, MA in a small apartment. Of course the family cat joined us.
Somehow, Janice became pregnant and I quickly realized how tough it was going to be supporting the three of us. We decided that me returning to the Navy would be the answer to all our problems, and give us the financial and medical security we would need. The Navy, not taking into consideration our family life, immediately sent me to Saudi Arabia, for a no dependents, one year tour of duty. Jan was now introduced to what life was going to be like with Jack.
Janice quickly showed all of us that she was indeed suited to be a mother, grandmother, friend and loving wife throughout her whole life, including right to the very end when she was well aware she would be leaving us. She was always concerned as to everyone else’s welfare and refused to dwell on her own pain.
She was not someone who would complain or whine, but certainly could give you that special look that made you well aware that you needed to address your last actions. She was always there when you scraped that knee, had a bad day at school or work, or just needed a little pat on the back for a job well done.
During our retirement days in beautiful southern Maryland, Janice was extremely busy keeping up with the daily activities of our children and grandchildren, relatives and life long friends. I can safely say she never forgot any birthday, wedding anniversary, or a special day that brought a smile to your face and made you grateful that someone remembered.
We both settled nicely into retirement mode. Jan now had time to devote much of her time to local wildlife, which included trying to outwit every squirrel in the neighborhood who tried stealing precious bird food from all the migrating birds on their way north and south. Her adoption of a very neglected feral cat in the neighborhood continued to show how she would help anyone in trouble and make life for them tolerable and happy. Her concern for them continued through her last days.
I would like to thank all our dear family, and the group of devoted friends that gave us strength and laughter during these most difficult days. Jan’s spirit was a part of you and will always be so.
I’d like to share a poem with you:
I give you this one thought to keep
I give you this one thought to keep
I am with you still. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sunlight on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush,
I am the swift, uplifting rush of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
So do not think of me as gone
I am with you still in each new dawn.
Hon, I love you and will miss you dearly.