Virginia Beach - Janis Mae Barden Gaffney, the best mother in the world, passed away on November 18, 2012. Beloved daughter, proud mother, cherished grandmother, and devoted wife of 63 years, Mom will be greatly missed by her knight in shining armor and favorite Air Force pilot Jack, her 4 children, and 10 grandchildren. A native of Akron, Ohio, she and Jack attended St. Vincent High School, and have been residents of Virginia Beach since 1965.
Mom was a Red Cross volunteer at the Little Creek Naval Amphibious Base pharmacy for 25 years, an active member of the Amphibious Base Chapel Altar Guild, including past President, and a member and officer of the Retired Officers Wives Club (ROWS). But above all, Mom loved her family and gave her children the gift of a charmed upbringing. A wonderful homemaker, cook, and seamstress, she was proud to be an Air Force wife. As Dad's tours of duty moved our family to Texas, Florida, Louisiana, Colorado, and finally Virginia, Mom created a loving home in each new location. And when Dad's assignment called him away from the family, including a year in Thailand during the Vietnam War, Mom bravely stepped up to the plate to fill his shoes.
Mom enjoyed shopping, traveling, and celebrating the holidays, even the small ones, with her family. She and Dad made several trips to Ireland to visit Dad's homeland. Considering herself Irish by marriage, she became greener with each visit! They traveled to Iceland, England, Portugal, Hawaii, and wherever else their children lived. Halloween, Valentine's Day, or St. Patrick's Day never went by without a package from Mom arriving in the mail.
Mom was predeceased by her parents Dallas and Thelma Barden and her sister Bette Jane Barden, all of Akron, Ohio.
She is survived by her loving husband Jack and children Becky (of Virginia Beach), Jeff (and wife Vicki) of Chesterfield, Tim (and wife Ginny) of Hampton, and Cathy (and husband Larry) of Norwalk, Connecticut, and ten grandchildren: Maddy, Mariah, Draden, Sawyer, Casey, Eryn, John Patrick, Hannah Mae, Hilary, and Zach.
The family would like to thank Nancy Marchand for her loving care of "Mimi".
A strong believer in the power of angels, Mom was an avid angel collector and loved to present angels as gifts. We are all angels in training, and as the person who nurtured and comforted us, Mom is now a special angel. Wherever there is love, an angel is nearby, and for us, that angel is Mom.
A funeral mass will be celebrated at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Virginia Beach at 10:00 AM on Saturday, November 24.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a donation to the American Red Cross.
Published in The Virginian Pilot on Nov. 22, 2012