Janice Edna Smith, age 89, of Burnsville, passed away peacefully October 15, 2023.
She was born Sept. 4, 1934 in Des Moines, Iowa, several minutes before her identical twin sister, Joan, to loving parents, Edwin and Ruby (Ward) Kahler. The twins enjoyed a special bond their entire life, from tormenting their older sister, Dorothy as little girls, to performing as a musical duo in their teens, to spending many, many happy hours on the phone with each other later in life.
After graduating from East High School, Janice worked at Bell Telephone company in Des Moines, but soon met a handsome young sailor, Ronald Smith, of Watertown, South Dakota who also had family ties to Des Moines. They were married on July 2, 1955, and welcomed their first child, Susan, on July 4, 1957. Their second child, Matthew, followed on March 5, 1962. During these years, they lived in San Diego, Iowa City, Phoenix and Cedar Rapids, Iowa - lots of moving and packing with pregnancy and small children. Perhaps that is why, when they built their house in Burnsville in 1963 and had their third child, Glenn, on January 24, 1964, they never moved again!
Janice was a wonderful mother to her three children, teaching us to live by the “Golden Rule”, to love all animals (except “bugs”), to appreciate beauty, art, music and nature, and that it was okay to be a picky eater. She welcomed our friends, and our pets of all kinds, including dogs, birds, turtles, fish, geckos, and even snakes! Her own favorite pets, although she would never admit to “playing favorites”, were the cats, Molly, Smokey, Maggie, Levi and Elijah who were very lucky to be adopted by her. She was also a talented seamstress, flower gardener, baker and crafter. She and Joan loved pretty dishes and dolls, and they both had large collections of those and other knick-knacks. She also LOVED being a grandmother to Jeremy, Anya, and Adrienne.
Janice was preceded in death by her parents, Ed and Ruby Kahler; sister, Dorothy James, brother-in-law Jimmy James, and nephew Terry James; also grandparents, uncles, aunts, and parents-in-law, Russell and Beth Smith. Also her brother-in-law, Richard Smith, passed away October 28.
She is survived by her loving husband, Ron, who has been her care-giver for the past few years as she struggled with Alzheimer’s and other physical difficulties; daughter and son-in-law, Susanne and Tom Loosmore of River Falls, Wis.; son, Matt, and grandson, Jeremy, of Wadena, Minn.; son and daughter-in-law, Glenn and Irina (Ira) and granddaughters, Anya and Adrienne of Lakeville, Minn.; twin sister, Joan Feight and her husband, Dwayne of Des Moines, and their children, Tannera Kane of Calif., Jane Feight Nelson of Des Moines, and Bill (Bonnie) of Colorado; niece, Diann (James) McBroom, of Iowa; niece, Gretchen Pugh, nephews Andy Smith and Eddie Smith; and cherished kitties, Levi and Eli.
Janice’s smile could light up a room, and her laughter was so contagious you could end up helpless on the floor. She would ask if we wanted a sandwich half an hour before Thanksgiving dinner, and snacks half an hour afterwards; no one ever left her house with an empty stomach!
We will miss her beyond belief, but are comforted knowing that her spirit is now at peace and reunited with those loved ones who went before her.
Please contact a family member for Celebration of Life details.
Memorials preferred to Alzheimer’s Association, Last Hope Animal Rescue or animal humane/rescue organization of donor’s choice, or River Hills United Methodist Church in Burnsville.