On August 8, 2013, Janice A Neimeyer embraced the sunset and wrapped herself in the warmth of all its vibrant colors after a short but brave battle with ovarian cancer. The sparkle in her eyes, her warm smile, and her gentle grace will be remembered by all who knew her. Jan was born to Helen and Allen "A.C." Neimeyer on January 9, 1959 in Anahiem, California, jumping forward into life minutes before her twin brother Joel. The daughter of an Air Force Lt. Colonel, Jan spent her early years 'around the world', living in the Azores, the Phillipines, and many of the lower 48 states. Moving frequently, and traveling extensively, Jan developed strong familial bonds among her five other siblings that would enrich her throughout her life..
Sharing a special bond with her mother, Jan embraced her mother's Yupik and Sami (Laplander) heritage along with her mother's strong quiet resolve. As the granddaughter of a Sami reindeer herder contracted to raise domesticated reindeer in Alaska during the Gold Rush era, Jan traveled to (Samiland) Norway to reestablish family connections long lost. Jan memorialized her family's Alaskan experience through extensive genealogical research in Norway, Pennsylvania, and Alaska. Jan sought her mother's advice during her life, and emulated her wisdom and strength after her passing.
Jan graduated from Mary Carroll High School in Corpus Christi, Texas,and continued her love of learning at the University of Texas-Austin, obtaining a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, and the University of Alaska-Fairbanks with a Masters in Education. Jan's passion and profession was art, in its many forms.
She began her career in commercial graphic arts in Juneau at Capital City Weekly, and then later with Sealaska Corporation. On a chance invitation to the classroom, she found her true passion of teaching art to children, first with the Juneau Indian Studies program teaching students in grades 3-5, and later,for many years, in both Juneau-Douglas and Thunder Mountain High Schools. A strong advocate of quality art education in the schools, she loved to engage the artistic interest of all kids, and was a beloved-favorite teacher.
Her classrooms were a warm and welcoming place for all students. One of her great prides was inspiring students to discover an interest in art and to establish their own artistic expression that so often resulted in them enthusiastically continuing their studies; and, indeed for some, not dropping out. Over the years, and until she left for medical reasons, Jan taught ceramics, graphic arts, printmaking, digital art, and photography. She was instrumental in the advancement of the Juneau high school art program into the digital age through advocacy for facility enhancements at both JDHS and TMHS, and through her development of curriculum.
Jan met her husband, Roger Healy, on the Douglas Sandy Beach soccer field, where they played soccer together for many years. Married on August 9, 1986, they delighted in their wonderful years together living in Juneau and Fairbanks, loving Alaska, Auke Bay, and the Yukon, traveling far and wide, and documenting their adventures with photography. Their shared passion and true joy was raising their son, Igor. Jan poured her love, guidance, and abilities into raising him. Jan loved being a mother and wife, tending to their home in Auke Bay and enjoyed participating in the many family adventures.
Preceded in death were her parents, Allen Carl and Helen Sara Neimeyer. Jan is survived by her husband Roger Healy, son Russell ('Igor') Healy, of Juneau; sisters Diane Leach of Gaithersburg, Maryland, Cindy (Peter) Chin of Houston, Texas; brothers, Mike Neimeyer of Anchorage, Burt Neimeyer of Palmer, and Joel (Jill) Neimeyer of Anchorage, as well as, numerous nieces, cousins, and nephews.
A celebration of Jan's life will be held at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center (JACC) at 6:00 p.m. on September 21, 2013 with a reception following.
Please dress in vibrant colors.
In lieu of flowers, the family welcomes donations made in memory of Jan Neimeyer at the Juneau Community Foundation. The donations will be dedicated to the support and promotion of quality art curriculum in Juneau's public high schools and scholarships for young aspiring artists.
Published in The Juneau Empire on Sept. 7, 2013