Reflections on the passing of my mother, the last of the “Great Generation” in our family.
My mother, Janice Green, passed away at about 7 p.m. on October 30th, 2020. She was 94. The “cause of death” will be recorded as Alzheimer’s, with Covid as a contributing factor, but the real cause is that she felt free to go.
A few weeks ago Marti and I began to feel that we should plan a trip back to Colorado, even though it was not clear if freedom to travel for “non-essential” purposes would continue. We booked the flights and just before we left home, we learned that Mom had tested positive for Covid. Although our family home in Mesa County Colorado has been almost Covid free, somehow the virus got into the very careful and caring nursing home where she and Dad have lived for a few years. Dad passed away about 13 months before Mom.
I have a younger sister and younger brother in Mesa County. My sister Charlotte has been visiting Mom daily, encouraging her, buying the things she needed (she regularly “needed” new clothes, even though she wasn’t able to go anywhere) and liaising with the nursing home.
The day after we arrived, my older sister, Deyon, arrived from Texas. Although we could not visit Mom because of Covid, Deyon did stop by the nursing home to look through the window, but Mom was not visible. She had been unresponsive for several days. Over the previous five or six years, dementia had taken her ability to communicate and finally her comprehension.
The next day we had a wonderful, warm time of fellowship with my brother, Greg and his wife, Debbie. As we were leaving, Debbie, who has some expertise in neural science, explained that often the ability to hear remains even after other abilities have gone. She suggested perhaps we should consider trying to communicate with her one more time to say what we thought was important.
Greg and Debbie had appointments that afternoon, but Deyon, Charlotte, Marti and I all felt that Debbie had shared an important insight, so we went back to the nursing home. This time, Mom was clearly visible from the window and one of the many excellent staff put a phone on speaker mode and held it close to Mom.
Each of us had a turn telling her that we loved her very much, were so grateful for such an exemplary mother, letting her know that we were in warm family unity and that she should feel free to go be with Dad and all her loved ones in the place Jesus has prepared for us. It was one of those moments when we all thought, “God is so IN this act!”
About three hours later we got the phone call saying she had taken her last breath at about 7 p.m. on the 30th of October.
This is the obituary we prepared for Janice Green.
Janice Green passed away October 30th in her 95th year, following her husband, Charlie, who died last year at the age of 96. They enjoyed a full and fruitful life together, having four children, 15 grandchildren, 28 great grandchildren, and one great, great grandchild. She left a family deeply grateful for her legacy of love, integrity, hardworking faithfulness and creativity. For those familiar with the description, she was the incarnation of the Proverbs 31 woman.
Janice was born July 14, 1926 in Logan, New Mexico to Arbie and Tuck Meeks, the fifth of six children. Arbie had brought 2 children to the marriage and Tuck had brought four, so the total was twelve. Janice attended schools in New Mexico, obtained a ministerial license, travelled as an evangelist and went on to Southwestern Bible College in Waxahachie, Texas, graduating with honours in 1944.
She married Charles Green in June of 1944. Together they pastored in Texas, before moving to Colorado in 1946. Four children were born to Charlie and Janice in Grand Junction: Deyon Stephens (Don), Lynn Green (Martha), Charlotte Pollard (Ron), and Greg Green (Debbie).
Janice served as PTA president of Orchard Mesa Junior High; she taught Sunday School for many years; She was a talented musician in piano, organ, banjo, and guitar. She contributed to the family income and taught her children well through her efforts in many projects like baking, raising chickens, turkeys, milk cows and sheep, growing fruit and vegetables, and sewing.
Despite her initial fear of flying, she obtained her pilot’s license after her children were grown. She learned general administration and bookkeeping skills, making payroll for Valley Construction, one of the businesses she and her husband ran together. She occasionally flew supplies and payroll to outlying jobs in Farmington, New Mexico; Kemmerer, Wyoming and Cortez, Colorado.
In 1975 Charlie and Janice completed the entry level training for Youth With A Mission in Lausanne, Switzerland. They returned to close their business and pioneer a Youth With A Mission training center in the Big Cimarron Valley, training scores of young people in Christian faith and life skills. They directed that ministry for 20 years, and then purchased El Rancho Cimarron, a small family resort, which they operated for seven years.
In their late 70s, Charlie and Janice built a house on the Redlands of Grand Junction and returned to live there in 2003. In 2012 they moved to the Atrium (assisted living). As their health and strength declined they moved on to Larchwood Nursing Home, where they were well-cared for and loved by the excellent staff.
Isn’t it a blessing that we had parents like her. And life doesn’t end in sadness but in a knowing we will meet again in a new life in which they already live on. Still the loss is there but it surely is mixed with great thankfulness and joy.
How providential that you got there in time and ‘listened’ to God speaking through your sister-in-law. What a wonderful life she lived and her legacy lives on in her children and her children’s children and through the generations. Our love and thoughts are with you and Marti during this sad time. Blessings and much love Susan
Tamara and I are sorry to hear about the death of your mother. You had amazing parents. I’m glad you were able to have a time to express to her what was on your heart before she died.
May God comfort you all as I’m sure you miss her very much.
Bryan Bishop YWAM Circle 18 A communication collective PO Box 60579 Colorado Springs, CO 80960 USA Mobile and WhatsApp: 1-719-592-1629
I met your parents around 1976 after moving to Grand Junction from the big island of Hawaii to help my brother with his plumbing business. My brother got me into a 4 year apprenticeship program in Grand Junction. It was in those apprenticeship years that I got to know your parents (Charlie and Janice – as I knew them) within those years. I remember going to your home on the Redlands and helping your mom pick cantaloupes for the weekly farmers market. Your Dad – I would travel to Cimmaron and work there with your dad. Your parents both had lots of energy. I often said that your dad needed to write a book about his life story it was so interesting. When I pass the state plumbing test and became a journeyman plumber, it was your dad who gave me advise that changed my life. I had gone to him and said, Charlie, I’ve been praying about doing a YWAM school and his response was; Where would you like to go Mike and when I said I don’t know I’ve been praying about that but I have not heard from the Lord. And he said to me, Mike, God is the God of adventure and where would you like to go and if that’s not God’s will he will show you. My response was well it needs to be in English speaking country because I’m not good with languages and he quickly replied saying go to England my son is there, the rest is as they say history! So, as I look back on my life it is very apparent I am just one of many people who had your parents love, guidance and influence that radically changed my life.
I am saddened by your loss and yet heavens gain.
Always your brother in Christ.
What a tremendous legacy, Lynn. Thank you so much for sharing some of the journey you & your family have recently taken, and for the obituary so lovingly written for your mother. May God’s grace & peace encompass you all at this time. Margaret Hudson, New Zealand.
Lynn, this was beautifully written and so well said! Your Mom impacted my life when I was a small child but I didn’t realize it until I became older. She set an example of the Proverbs 31 woman in every aspect of her beautiful and well lived life. She said to me one day, in a conversation we were having, ” You figure life out as you go”. It has stuck with me down through the ages and I quote her a lot. Her love of flowers inspired me to love flowers too. One year I had a spectacular yard of wonderful, bright, colorful flowers. I was telling her about her inspiration and showed her a picture of my yard. She looked at it and said, “Vonnie, I couldn’t have done that!” She always encouraged us younger women to do better and be better! I loved her and your Dad and the Green’s home was always a second home to me during my formative years. I never felt any judgements from her ever! She was beyond wonderful to me always and I feel blessed to have know her all my life! My your memories of her bring comfort,
may you find peace that she is no longer suffering and rejoice that she has joined your Dad and all the others on the other side.
Much love to all of th Green Family!
Vonnie Cox Folkers
Condolences to the passing of your mother What a powerfull testimony God bless you and give you comfort and strenght in this time
My love and prayer are with you, Marti and your family. Thank you so much for sharing your mom’s story to us. She was a pilot, how awesome!
HI Lynn, Thanks for posting this re your mum. It is a tough time when parents go but when we know where they are going it eases the pain. We met you mum man years ago at Ifield Hall. Such a pleasure to meet her and Charlie and to see the legacy they have left through their family. Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this time.
Warwick & June
Lynn, what a beautiful and honoring tribute to a beautiful woman whose legacy will long outlive her life on this earth. Much grace, peace, and comfort to you and your family.
Reinhard and I are sending our heartfelt condolences to you and Marti! What a special guidance to a special end chapter of a very special life bringing so much glory to the Lord! May the Lord comfort you in this time of letting-go. Birgit
My condolences to the family of Janice Green. Although you won’t remember me, my mother and I attended church with you in Grand Junction. Your parents were so kind and gracious to my mom as she journeyed down the path of single parenting. I can remember her mentioning how loving Janice and Charlie were and Charlie (my Sunday School teacher) was so often helping mom with home projects she couldn’t handle by herself. You have been blessed to have enjoyed such Godly parents. Glad you were able to be there to help send your mother off to be with the Lord and your father. While it is natural to grieve the loss, you get to experience the joy of having had such Godly parents and knowing they are together again with the Lord. Your lives are a testament of their faithfulness. May God’s comfort and blessings be with you during this time and as you continue in His service.