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Janet Jones

JANET CHARLENE JONES, 68 LOVES PARK - Janet Charlene Jones, age 68, died with her family at her side in her home the morning of July 1, 2013, after a courageous battle with cancer. She was born to the late Roland Earl "Bud" and Francis "Frankie" Miller, May 27, 1945, in Freeport, IL. Jan was a graduate of Orangeville High School, class of 1963, and went on to get her Bachelors in Education from Beloit College in 1966, and Masters in Special Education from Northern Illinois in 1970. She was a Doctoral Candidate (ABD) at Northern Illinois University. She married Wayne Rex Jones on August 12, 1967, and they lived happily in their dream home they built together on the Rock River in Loves Park, IL. Jan was an educational visionary as she worked for the Rockford Public School system for 34 years. Her career began as a 2nd grade teacher at Brookview Elementary, and after 5 years of teaching, she realized she wanted to help advocate for change in the district and moved into administration. She was instrumental in the formation of Rockford's Early Childhood Education Program, wrote several grants for the district, was a Supervisor and Director of Special Education for 19 years, during which she implemented Public Law 94-142, the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975. She was also Director of Student Services for 4 years and Director of Curriculum and Instruction for 6 years before her retirement. She believed in our future educators and taught for Rockford College as an adjunct education instructor for over 25 years. Jan not only provided the inspiration but she was the model of what it meant to do your best for children. She made others believe in themselves to strive for excellence in education. She was relentless in searching for the next best program or strategy which would help children and families. No matter how challenging or frustrating the issue, Jan would generate and nurture the creative spirit in others to find a positive and beneficial solution. She possessed the remarkable talent to honor and respect the opinions of others no matter how different from hers. This ability to truly listen to others enabled her to foster collaboration with diverse groups to create workable solutions. After "retirement" she spent the past 13 years on various boards and committees including Rockford Promise (initial founder, Board President and Board Member), Alignment Rockford High School Redesign Committee, Golden Apple Foundation (volunteer, committee member, Vice President of Programs) Midway Village and Museum Center (Board Member since 2003, and served as Board Chair for 5 years) and several other affiliations too numerous to mention. She worked for the Regional Office of Education as a School Improvement Coach for Jefferson and East High Schools, and as a Race to the Top Coach for Boone and Winnebago counties. Jan served as a special education consultant for numerous school districts in northern Illinois. She was honored with many awards over the years including the YWCA Leadership Award in Education, Rockford Woman Magazine on How women make a difference in RPS205, Those Who Excel Administrator of the Year, Rockford Park District award for 40 years of advocacy for Rockford Children, and an Illinois Park and Recreation Community Service Award. She was recently honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Rockford Board of Education and by Midway Village and Museum as they engraved her name and life motto onto a stone: Disney's Vision "Dream, Believe, Dare, Do". Jan loved spending time with her family, traveling with family and friends, boating, riding on the Sea-Doo, working crossword and Sudoku puzzles, hosting parties including the annual "back to school" corn boil, and hanging with her girlfriends. She especially loved the time that she and her husband spent on Sanibel Island, FL and that her children were able to join them each year. She and Wayne took several cruises and traveled together to places like Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Virgin Islands, Alaska, Hawaii, and Europe. They are members of a convertible club and enjoyed their monthly rides across Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin together. She loved spoiling her daughters and taking them to the Canyon Ranch Spa in Arizona. She and her family were members of the Ski Broncs Water Ski Show Team for over 20 years and she enjoyed helping with costumes and watching her girls ski. Both of her daughters were influenced by her and went into the field of education themselves. Michelle is an Art Teacher at East High School in Rockford, IL, and Renee is a Counselor at Illinois Valley Community College in Oglesby, IL. Jan is survived by her husband, Wayne R Jones of Loves Park, IL; daughters, Renee (Shawn) Prine of Rockford, IL and Michelle (Nicholas) DalPra of Loves Park, IL; and grandson, Logan Jones Prine, all of whom are so proud of her and love her very much. Jan is also survived by a wide circle of friends who cherish their relationships with her. Jan was a member of St. Bernadette's Church. Funeral Mass will be held on Saturday, July 6, 2013, at St. Bernadette Catholic Church, 2400 Bell Ave., at 10 a.m. Visitation will be held on Friday, July 5, 2013, at Fitzgerald Funeral Home and Crematory, Riverside Chapel 3910 N. Rockton Ave., from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that memorial donations be made in her name to Rockford Promise, an all volunteer, nonprofit foundation which provides scholarships to Rockford Public School graduates for college or training. Please send to: Rockford Promise Foundation, 5320 East Drive, Loves Park, IL 61111.

Published in The Journal-Standard from July 4 to July 5, 2013
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