Janice Marie Larsen(1947 - 2013)

Janice Marie Larsen passed away peacefully in her sleep Saturday, March 23, 2013, due to stage four pancreatic cancer.

She was born May 4, 1947 in Waltham, Mass., to the late Romeo and Eva (Gallant) Landry. She is the sister of Richard Landry of Rome, Ga., and the late Diane Lambert. She was predeceased by her former husband, Dennis Larsen.

She attended Waltham High School and graduated in 1965. Her studies continued at UNH where she received her Bachelor of Arts in 1988.

Her career began at Work Opportunities Unlimited and later, Parent Information Center. She retired from the Moore Center in Manchester, where she worked from February 1990 to January 2010.

She advocated for families with disabled children through family support services, special education and disability rights services. She was a defender of people with disabilities and she was considered a leader in Family Support Services in the State of New Hampshire.

She became the President of the ARC of Greater Manchester which published a disability rights paper, The NH Challenge, for which she wrote a column, "Ask Jan". She became the Executive Director of the paper in 2010. Her work was instrumental to changing laws governing the rights for disabled parents and children.

She was an amazing woman who was larger than life. She had an incredible ability to care for so many people. She was a wealth of knowledge when it came to family support, the special education system, Medicare/Medicaid, and disability rights. She affected many families with her selfless gift of time, kindness, resources, and her understanding of the "system".

She made a lasting impact in the lives of many families. To them, she was a priceless gift that changed the way being disabled is seen in this state. Her goal was to make this world a better place so anyone, disabled or not, could dare to dream and accomplish anything they wanted in life. There will NEVER be anyone like her in this world again.

She is survived by her long time best friend and roommate, Edith Cummings. She was like a daughter to Edith, who has known her since she was 16. She was a sister to Edith's two sons, Mark and Peter Lawton, and her daughter, Pat Gerlt. She is also survived by her three children, Christine Mousseau of Keene, Deborah Thomas of San Angelo, Texas and Michael Larsen of Exeter; her son-in-law, John Mousseau; four grandchildren, Mikayla Mousseau, Ty Thomas, Walter Thomas, and Owen Larsen; many aunts, uncles, cousins, three nieces, two nephews, as well as great-grand nieces and nephews.

There are no calling hours.

A funeral service will be held Thursday, March 28, at 3 p.m. at Grace Episcopal Church, 106 Lowell St., Manchester.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the NH Family Support Conference, ATTN: Bill Dillon, Community Crossroads, 8 Commerce Dr., Atkinson, NH, 03811.

Published in The Concord Monitor on Mar. 26, 2013