Janice Eileen Wynn Mabey was born on February 17, 1934 in Lyons, Kansas. Lyons was a small town whose economy depended on farming and a salt mine. She was the first child of Ross and LaVelle Wynn and a child of the Great Depression. She grew up in a society that believed that hard work and frugality were the keys to success. She epitomized these qualities throughout her life. She was big sister to Delbert and Larry and had the typical adventures of childhood, like unbidden haircuts before the family picture. She began earning her own money working as a waitress at the age of 12 and worked continuously through the remainder of her school years.
She graduated from Lyons High School (KS), married right out of high school, and was soon a mother. In 1953, she moved to southern California as a single mother, for a fresh start. She provided for herself and her daughter Deanna, working as a waitress at Bob’s Big Boy restaurant in Glendale.
In 1954 she married Don R. Mabey, whom she had initially met in Lyons. The next 20 years would see her embrace the roles of wife and mother. Serving in these roles took her from southern California to Washington, D.C., to Utah, to northern California and then to the western suburbs of Denver, Colorado. The Denver area would be her home for 18 years. Along the way she brought two more children, Danette and Matthew, to their family. Her social circle included her church and the families of her husband’s colleagues. She served in various roles in her adopted faith, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as a PTA president, and as an officer in bowling leagues.
In 1974 her marriage ended, and a new chapter of her life began. She returned to the work force as a restaurant hostess and bank teller. In the late 1970s and 1980s she was in a committed relationship with Tom Emich and had the opportunity to travel domestically and internationally. In 1983 she moved to Sun City, Arizona which she called home for 37 years, nearly to the end of her life. She loved dancing and soon had a large circle of friends in Sun City that shared her interests in dancing and music. After many years of a vibrant social life, her friends, many of whom were older than herself, began to pass away and her social life slowly contracted. Yet she always stayed in touch with family and friends from all periods of her life. While she lived in Arizona, she enjoyed periods where her daughter’s family, her brother’s family, her granddaughter’s family, and finally a grandson lived nearby and brought her added joy with their company.
In addition to working hard and being frugal, Janice loved to talk with friends and family and to travel. She was also a good cook and enjoyed entertaining guests. Janice would always tell anyone who asked that her only hobby was talking.
Janice passed away peacefully after four months restricted activity following a stroke. She is survived by her brother Larry Wynn (Sun City West, Arizona), her children Deanna and Chris Jeffrey (Woodburn, Oregon), Danette and Art Hantla (Sandy, Utah), Matthew and Kaylyn Mabey (Salem, Oregon), 8 grandchildren, and 9 great-grandchildren.
Deanna, Danette and Matthew,
Thank you SO much for including me in the recognition of your mother's life. Boy, that takes me back a long way. Back to when she and I both served on the PTA at the elementary school on Green Mountain. You were all young children...mine were younger still.
Your mom and Jean and I shared some good times and some good memories before life took us in different directions.
I send good wishes to you and your families. I believe you have handled your mom's transition in a personal and very appropriate manner. Thank you for including me.
Jane Crane (in Huntington Beach)