Marie Elizabeth 'Betty'
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Jans Oliverson Flynn
Dec. 2, 1921 - Dec. 21, 2012
On Friday, Dec. 21, 2012, a very special woman - daughter, sister, wife, mother and friend - departed this world and will be missed by all those whose lives she touched.
Marie Elizabeth ("Betty") Jans Oliverson Flynn was born on Dec. 2, 1921 in Detroit, Mich. She graduated from Northwestern High School in 1931 and Elmhurst College in 1943. Later in life she received her masters in Early Childhood Education from Kean University in 1975.
Betty moved to Red Bank, N.J., and married Leon M. Oliverson Jr. in January 1945. They were married for 28 years until Leon died of a heart attack at age 61 in 1973. She married James F. Flynn in December 1981 and they moved from New Jersey to Florida where they lived until moving to Woodland, in 1984. They were married for 21 years until Jim died in 2002 at the age of 92. Over 20 summers Betty also loved going to her cabin in Maine.
Betty believed that education was very important and devoted much of her life to the education of young children. She was a teacher and director of Navesink Nursery School in Fair Haven, N.J., and later, a kindergarten teacher at various schools in New Jersey. She was active in the Woodland Child Care Commission from 1990-1992. Betty was one of the founders and the first director of St. John's Preschool in Woodland from 1995 to 2000, starting the school when she was 74 years young.
Betty was very active in her community throughout her life - even through her 80s - and freely gave of her time helping and enriching the lives of others. Always busy, she volunteered at various times for Meals on Wheels; as a tutor for the Literacy Program; for the Food Closet; and in the kindergartens of Beamer, Gibson and Dingle Schools; and as a docent at the Gibson House for the Historical Society. She also volunteered for the Commission on Aging.
Betty enjoyed singing as a member of the church choir - doing so since she was 3 years old - including at St. John's Church as an alto where she was a member of the congregation for 28 years. She loved dancing, and she and her 2nd husband, Jim, were members of both Mr. & Mrs. Dance and Davis Dance Clubs. She also enjoyed attending the Life History class at the Senior Center in Woodland. After macular degeneration took most of her eye sight and she could no longer drive, Betty relied on the Community Care Car to get her to numerous activities most days of the week including Cross Court for water walking and riding the stationary bike.
Betty participated in several organizations including: AARP, AAUW, Inner Wheel of Rotary, and Town & Country Club where she was president for two years.
Betty loved life and didn't want to give up on it for fear that she would "miss something." Her health had been in decline since January 2012 when she was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and put on oxygen. This limited her ability to participate in activities outside of the home. In April she was diagnosed with malignant melanoma which spread to her lymph nodes. At that point she was put on hospice under the wonderful care of Cate Frey, RN; Dalila Barajas, MSW; and Diana Sanchez, aide. Betty rallied for her 91st birthday on Dec. 2 with family and friends, hanging on for 19 more days when she passed after a tough fight, surrounded by her children.
Survivors include her brother, Ralph Jans; her three children: Diane, Bill and Kathleen (eldest son, Jeff, predeceased her in August 2012); step-children Donald Flynn and Kathleen Fisher Freihon; grandchildren: Luke, Shari, Chandi and Erin; step-grandchildren: Tawn, Dore, Michael, Sharon, Linda and Donna; and several great grandchildren. All will miss her positive, upbeat attitude, her supportiveness, and her bright smile and laugh.
A celebration of Betty's life will be held at St. John's United Church of Christ at 2 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 16, followed by a reception with her family. Betty was cremated by the Neptune Society of Sacramento.
Donations in her honor in lieu of flowers may be made to St. John's Church Memorial Fund, 432 Cleveland St., Woodland, 95695; the Outa Sight Group or the Community Care Car, both at the Woodland Senior Center, 2001 East St., Woodland, 95776.
Published in Daily Democrat from Jan. 27 to Feb. 20, 2013