Janice Cousins Birrer went to be with her Lord and Savior on March 3, 2010. She was in Bozeman, living at Spring Meadows assisted living with her husband Emmett of 56 years.
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Janice was born Aug. 7, 1934, in Bozeman to Clare and Margaret (Thompson) Cousins. She attended Bozeman schools, graduating from Gallatin County High School in 1952. She was active in the order of Rainbow for Girls as a teenager and was awarded the Grand Cross of Color.
She married Emmett F. Birrer on April 12, 1953, and they continued to reside in Bozeman until 1955 when they moved to Butte. In 1958 they returned to Bozeman until 1961, when they moved to Chicago. After a short time in Chicago, they moved to Baltimore, Md., where they lived for 10 years. They moved to Portland, Ore., for just one year before returning to Bozeman in 1972 when they purchased Thompson Brothers Floor Covering from Janice's uncles, John and Elliott Thompson. In 1988 Janice went to work as the office manager at Cook Bell Real Estate for eight years until her retirement.
Janice was an avid bowler and participated in many bowling leagues over the years. She also enjoyed playing bridge with Emmett and other family members, as well as playing in bridge clubs. Janice played golf for many years and even got a hole-in-one at Riverside Country Club in the early 1980s. She also was very proud to win the grandmothers' golf tournament at Riverside.
Music was the love of her life. She taught piano lessons for years, with many of her students being family members. Her favorite student was her daughter, Sherri, who she enjoyed playing duets with. Over the years she directed and sang in church choirs, played the organ for church services and accompanied the TAMS, a women's singing group in Bozeman. She truly was blessed with the gift of music. At the age of 14, she would walk to Music Villa in Bozeman, play through a piece of sheet music on the piano, then walk home and would have the song memorized. She enjoyed playing at many family gatherings and parties and could play for hours without any music in front of her. Her legacy of music will linger on in her family forever.
Janice had a very strong faith and was active in church all her life. She was a member of Grand Avenue Christian Church from birth until 2001 at which time she and Emmett were affiliated with Grace Bible Church. She very much enjoyed being in the Bozeman Women's Bible Study Fellowship and was proud to complete the seven-year study.
She is survived by her husband, Emmett; three children and seven grandchildren. Janice said her greatest accomplishment was raising her three wonderful children: two sons, Steve (Sue) of Idaho Falls Idaho, Mark (Laurie) of Boise, Idaho; and daughter, Sherri Bradley (Mitch) of Bozeman. She was very proud of all seven of her grandchildren: Brett and Bryan Birrer, Alex and Ben Birrer, Cory (Bridget) Bradley, Melissa (Jeremy) Sukut and Hunter Birrer. She also had a loving relationship with one niece, two nephews, great-nieces and -nephews and cousins.
Janice is preceded in death by her father and mother, Clare and Margaret Cousins; and her dear sister and brother-in-law, LaVonne and Bill Stinnett.
A memorial service will be held at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, March 6, at Dokken-Nelson Sunset Chapel, with Pastor Warren Hiebert presiding. A luncheon will follow at Grand Avenue Christian Church.
It was Janice's request that memorial contributions be made to St. Jude's Children Fund.
Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service; www.dokkennelson.com.
Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service
113 South Willson Avenue
Bozeman, MT 59715
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Mar. 5, 2010