An empathetic caregiver with a wicked wit, Janice entertained kids with her childlike enthusiasm for songs, make-believe and projects. Adults, she entertained with stories and impressions, many not suitable for print.
Janice shared with her late husband, Robert E. Johnson, a nurturing spirit that stretched beyond their own children and grandchildren. They opened their home to special needs foster children who they later adopted, to nieces and nephews, to friends of their kids, and to a long line of cats and pampered dogs. Over the years their house was the spot for band practices, play rehearsals, Dungeons & Dragons campaigns and extended family Christmas Eve bashes.
A nurse, Janice was respected as an attentive professional. She was valued not just by grateful patients but also by her coworkers, whom she kept laughing at the nurse’s station.
The middle child of five, Janice was close to her Norwegian grandmother, Ulrikka Jensen. She remained best friends with her siblings and sisters-in-law all her life. Family parties and couples trips to Las Vegas or the Dells, as well as annual girls shopping trips, were legendary. Janice and her two sisters were inseparable, meeting for Wednesday lunches even toward the end of her life.
In 1968, Janice graduated from Tremper High School, where she met her lifelong love, Bob. In 1970, she graduated from Kenosha Technical School as a licensed practical nurse, and also became Mrs. Johnson. She loved nursing, and in a decades-long career, worked at Shady Lawn, St. Catherine’s Hospital (Rehab), Brookside, Dayton and St. Catherine’s Kidney Center.
At home, Janice always had a craft or sewing project going, whether it was painting a birdhouse or making a quilt for a loved one.
With Bob, Janice loved fishing for walleye in Canada and bluegill on Little Green Lake, where the couple had a get-away. With her grandchildren, who called her Boom-Boom, she loved to go on walks and collect rocks to paint.
Janice and Bob were so close that friends and family pronounced “Jan-n-Bob” as one name. Janice both cherished and depended upon her husband, especially after she began to suffer from dementia. In recent years, Janice felt secure only when Bob was in her sight. His devoted care allowed her to live at home as her disease progressed, and they were able to be at home together during Bob’ final battle with cancer in early 2022. Janice spent just over a year without the love of her life, a separation that has now come to an end.
Janice is survived by her children, Hollie (Manuel) Johnson, Adam (Carie) Johnson, PJ Johnson and Zachary Johnson; her grandchildren, Rob, Bird and Fritz Kreger, and Greta, Aeron and Ole Johnson; her step-father Lee Dederich and her siblings, Carole (Ronald) Fechner, James (Linda) Kirby, Lila (Fred Chubrillo) Kirby and William (Teri) Kirby; and many nieces, nephews, and great nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband, Robert E. Johnson, her granddaughter, Kathleen Janice “Katie” Kreger, and by her parents, Nancy (Jensen) Dederich and James W. Kirby.
Please join the family for a celebration of life at 11:30 am, Tuesday, April 25, at Green Ridge Cemetery, followed by a 1 pm luncheon at The Boat House.