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Janet Wessel


1919 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Janet Wessel Obituary
Wessel, Janet
I regret to inform you that Janet Wessel, Professor Emeritus in Adapted Physical Education at Michigan State University passed away in Phoenix, AZ on January 29, 2016 at the age of 96. Janet was born in Highland Park, MI, on July 8, 1919, one of six children of Harold Owen Wessel and Myrtle Cosby. She was preceded in death by her parents and her sisters Betty Hogan and Annabelle Mattos, her brothers Harold Wessel, Bruce Wessel, and David Wessel. She grew up in Ferndale, MI, and graduated from Ferndale High School. Janet received her bachelor's degree from MacMurray College, master's degree from Wellesley College and a PhD form the University of Southern California, each aided by the financial help of scholarships. This helped frame her passion for the power of education and her strong support for students in need of help. Following brief stints on the faculty of MacMurray College, the University of Arizona and the University of Maryland, Janet joined the MSU faculty in 1956. She led a path breaking career in physical education, a field mostly populated by men at the time. She conducted some of the first research on the aerobic capacity of older women and later became increasingly interested in the physical ability of the disabled, particularly among young children. Her development of the "I CAN Achievement Based Physical Education Curriculum" earned her national recognition, including being honored with the R. Tait Mackenzie Award, the highest honor of the American Association for Physical Activity and Recreation and the Julian U. Stein award, the highest honor of the Adapted Physical Activity Council. In 1984, Janet retired from Michigan State University to her home in Phoenix, Arizona. Her philosophy of life follows: "A strategy for happiness is helping others. It is very fulfilling. As I have come to view my life, I see three focuses: family, personal goals, and helping others. For me, true happiness, feeling good, is a chance to do something for someone else. It is the best way to be happy each day and feel good about it. Each night I reflect on the day's activities for three acts for kindness, support and doing for others. I believe that education, the ability to move, to act (to be active with help if needed), and in having or giving loving support and caring is the core of ACHIEVING HARMONY IN LIFE. So many ways to make a difference. Keep your mind, heart, and activities positive. With Vision, Believe You CAN. Have courage to do and you will find the ways." A reception for neighbors and friends will be held February 14. 2016 at 2:00 PM at the Homeowners' Association pool area behind Janet's house. Located at 1040 E. Village Circle Dr. S., Phoenix, AZ 85022. The Memorial Service will be held for Janet back in Shelby, Michigan on July 16, 2016 from 2:00-4:00PM at the First Congregational Church located at 51 E. Third Street in Shelby Michigan. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be sent to the Oceana Community Foundation, P.O. Box 367, Shelby, Michigan, 49455 with Janet A. Wessel Scholarship on the memo line. Please visit www.shadowmountainmortuary.com to leave online condolences for the family

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Published in The Arizona Republic on Feb. 7, 2016
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