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Janis Lynn SPURLOCK Obituary

SPURLOCK, Janis Lynn

Janis Lynn Spurlock, 56, of West Hartford, died Wednesday, (November 2, 2011) at St. Francis Hospital, Hartford. She was born on December 11, 1954, to Odessa and Kelly Spurlock in Willimantic, CT. She attended F. R. Noble School and Windham High School, graduating in 1972. Janis earned her B.A. from Howard University in Washington, D. C. in 1976, after which she returned home to earn an M.S.W. from the University of Connecticut in 1979, completing internships at Bergdorf Sickle Cell Services, Albany Avenue Guidance Center, both in Hartford, and Catholic Family Service in New Britain, CT. The consummate professional, Janis worked first as a medical social worker at the Burgdorf Sickle Cell Service, then as Community Health Director at Westside Health Service in Rochester, NY, and, returning to Hartford, CT, as a medical social worker for the Sickle Cell Service at St. Francis Hospital. She then served for several years as Psychosocial Program Coordinator for HIV Testing and Counseling Services with the CT Department of Public Health, leaving for several years to work as a medical social worker at Newington Children's Hospital. In 1993 she returned to the Department of Public Health, where for nearly 18 years she served as Health Program Supervisor with the AIDS and Chronic Diseases Section. Janis served frequently as a grant panelist and as a presenter and facilitator for programs on a range of topics from HIV counseling and sickle cell disease to African American tradition and culture and cultural diversity as they impact effective social work practice. Early in her career she worked with the Big Brothers/Big Sisters organization and served on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Sickle Cell Disease. She belonged to the CT chapter of that organization as well as to the National Association of Black Social Workers, Children in Placement (Hartford), and the Heart Association (Rochester, NY). Family centered Janis' life and Janis was the center of her family, where she quietly went about weaving and reweaving the fabric that had tightly bound members of the previous generation. Janis was well loved, and in turn she loved, nurtured and supported all who were fortunate to have known her. She leaves to mourn her loss and celebrate her spirit her father, Kelly Spurlock, whom she regarded as God's own emissary; her children, Sharlamar, Nia, and Toni Kiara McLendon, whom she loved deeply and unconditionally; her sister, Karla Spurlock-Evans and brother-in-law, Booker Evans, a niece, Mariama, and a nephew, Booker; her uncle and aunts, Leonard Spurlock, Betty Shearin, Lois Hopson, and Grace Hopson; her first cousins, Beverly Spurlock, widow of Robert Spurlock Jr., Carl Spurlock and his partner Beverly, Shirley Garner and her husband, Harold, Danise Green, Valerie Wilson-Wesley and her husband, Richard, Marcillia Huguley, Cynthia Clark, George Spurlock and his wife, Coleen, Patricia Wilson Pheanious and her husband, Robert, Bernard Borden Spurlock and his partner, Minnie, Joyce Hopson King, Sharon Spurlock, Kevin Hopson and his wife, Debra, Victoria Lawson and her husband, James, Angela Hopson, James Hopson and his wife Cathy, Michael Hopson and his wife, Mary, Anthony Hopson and his wife, Fyiane, and Dwayne Spurlock and his wife, Conchita. This group would not be complete without recognition of Janis' dear cousin/sister/friend, Maxine Joiner Wright. Beyond this group the circle widens to include a host of second, third and "almost" cousins, a warm supportive network of friends and colleagues - many of whom called Janis mother, sister, trusted confidante. And we would be remiss if we did not acknowledge Dr. Domina Spencer Moon, Odessa Spurlock's long-time friend and her family's guardian angel. All who knew Janis will miss her tireless dedication, her sweet, gentle presence, her lovely smile and hearty laugh.
The family will receive family and friends Wednesday evening, (November 9, 2011) from 7-9 p.m. at Potter Funeral Home, 456 Jackson Street, Willimantic. The funeral service will be held on Thursday morning, November 10, at 10:30 a.m. at The First Congregational Church, 199 Valley Street, Willimantic. Please visit www.potterfh.com to extend expressions of sympathy. Those who wish to make a donation in Janis Spurlock's name should send their contribution either to the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America, Southern Connecticut, Inc., 545 Whalley Avenue, New Haven, Connecticut 06511 or Citizens for Quality Sickle Cell Care, Inc.,100 Arch Street, New Britain, CT 06053.

Published in The Hartford Courant on Nov. 6, 2011
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