Janene Ann Scovel|
January 4, 1939-May 29, 2014
Resident of Walnut Creek
Janene Scovel died peacefully in her sleep last Thursday morning from complications due to inclusion body myositis and Parkinson's disease. She was a beloved wife, mother, and grandmother and was cherished by a multitude of friends and former students both in the Bay Area and around the world.
Janene Ann Nicodemus grew up in Ashland, Ohio and from an early age excelled academically, entering The College of Wooster at the end of her junior year of high school. She earned two Bachelor's degrees at The Ohio State University, and later a Master's in history from Eastern Michigan University, and still later a Ph.D. in international education from the University of Pittsburgh. Janene was also a superb violinist, taking lessons at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music at a young age, and later chosen as concertmistress for the all-Ohio high school symphony orchestra. Until she was afflicted with her muscle disease, she continued playing the violin as an adult, performing in community orchestras, and giving concerts in Thailand and the People's Republic of China.
Janene was an active, dedicated, and creative teacher of English, History, and Social Studies in Ohio, Michigan, California, Thailand, and China, finally retiring from the Acalanes High School District after a thirty-seven year career. After marrying her husband, Tom Scovel, on June 10, 1962, they traveled by freighter from San Francisco two years later to teach at Bangkok Christian College in Thailand. While residing in Bangkok, Janene was active in school and church affairs and also played in the fledging Bangkok Symphony Orchestra. After the Scovels completed graduate studies in the States, they returned to Thailand, this time to Chiangmai where Janene taught at the local international school and was again active in church and community affairs. The Scovel's two children were born during Janene's seven-year residence in Thailand- their son, Derick, was born in Bangkok, and their adopted Thai daughter, Christine, was born in Chiangmai.
In 1975, the Scovels returned to the States where Tom accepted a position at the University of Pittsburgh and where Janene taught middle school and concurrently completed her doctoral education. In late 1978, the Scovels were among the first Americans to be invited by the People's Republic of China to teach there, and during their stay in 1979, Janene impressed everyone with her incredible work ethic and complete devotion to her students despite innumerable physical and political hardships. The Scovels moved to Walnut Creek in 1983 and until her muscle disease forced her to retire in 2001, Janene continued her outstanding commitment to her students at Las Lomas and later Acalanes High School. In addition to her work in education, Janene was an ardent member of the Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church serving as a deacon, elder, mission committee member, and Sunday School teacher. She also played a leading role in Presbyterian Women and in the Seedlings nursery program. Janene was instrumental in organizing and helping to lead a youth mission trip to Thailand and also leading a group of fellow parishioners to China. Because of her compassionate outreach to people from other cultures, over the years she cultivated an extended family of Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, European, and American sisters, brothers, sons, and daughters.
Janene is survived by her husband, Tom Scovel of Walnut Creek, their son and daughter-in-law, Derick and Elizabeth Scovel and their sons, Remington and Roman, all of Vancouver, WA, their daughter and son-in-law, Christine and Andy Tejada, and their children Asia, Jason, Andres, and Siam, all from Antioch, CA, and by her sister, Diane Bachtel of Ashland, OH and brother Jon Nicodemus of Cincinnati.
A memorial service will be held at the Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church at 49 Knox Drive, Lafayette, CA at 3:00 on Friday, July 18. Donations in Janene's honor should be sent to LOPC and/or the The Myositis Association.
Published in Contra Costa Times on June 4, 2014