STOWE - Jan Elizabeth Bernasconi Aughey, 50, of North Hill Crossing Road, left this life peacefully on September 29, 2012, following a long battle with motor neuron disease.
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Through it all, Jan bravely lived by her credo: "Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass. It's about learning to dance in the rain ... " (unknown).
Jan was born on January 25, 1962, in Barre, Vt., to Carole Griffin Bernasconi and John E. Bernasconi. She was raised and received her early education in Barre.
On July 3, 1993, Jan married Robert M. Aughey Jr. at Ira Allen Chapel, University of Vermont, Burlington. They had made their home in Stowe since 1994, raising their two sons, Robert John "RJ" Aughey, 17, and Ryan Michael Aughey, 14.
Jan was a 1980 graduate of Spaulding High School where she was a long and high jumper for the track team, an office aide and a cheerleader. She is remembered by high school friends as "always smiling, friends with everyone, never putting herself above anyone else."
In 1984, Jan graduated from the University of Vermont with a BA in political science. Her time there was marked by diligent study, hard work and lots of fun. Her roommates - friends to the end -affectionately dubbed her "Hurricane Jan."
Following UVM, Jan attended Washington University School of Law in St. Louis, Mo., graduating with a JD in 1987. Jan was chosen as a member of the Order of Barristers in 1987 for obtaining high honors and having exhibited excellence in the art of courtroom advocacy. Jan was also active in Moot Court and was a member of the top-seeded second-year team in 1985. She also served on the Moot Court Executive Board, being one of only six members elected to run the program in her final year of law school. Jan was also chairperson of the Women's Law Caucus Networking Committee and was selected to attend the 1987 National Women in Law Conference in Washington, D.C., in 1987.
Jan was proud to have followed in her father's footsteps as a lawyer. She worked as a law clerk during the summer of 1985 at her father's law firm, Bernasconi and Koch. Jan had a clerkship at the Vermont Supreme Court, summer 1986, and then worked as a law clerk at Schuchat, Cook and Werner in St. Louis during the spring of 1987.
After receiving her Juris Doctorate, Jan worked in Boston as a litigation associate at Carolan, Sullivan and Greeley. In 1992, Jan followed her heart back to Vermont and began working at Paul Frank and Collins, Burlington, where she headed up the effort to establish the family law practice at that firm. She became a member of Paul Frank and Collins in January 1996. Jan earned a reputation as one of the premier divorce lawyers in Vermont.
She took a leave of absence in mid-2000 to be home with her young sons. Ultimately, Jan chose to remain at home to raise her family rather than resume her law practice.
Her passions were her family, her gardens and her home. She was a generous and accomplished hostess who entertained lovingly and frequently. As many will remember, her email signature invited us all to "Practice random acts of gardening!"
Jan was an accomplished skier and avid tennis player.
A willing and frequent volunteer, Jan served as president of the Stowe Elementary School Parent Teacher Organization from 2004 to 2006.
Jan also served as the Vermont Affiliate for the Advocacy Program of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PAN CAN), in honor of her mother, Carole Bernasconi.
To mourn her loss, Jan leaves her husband, Bob Aughey, and sons, RJ and Ryan, both at home; her father, John E. Bernasconi of Barre; a brother, Jay C. Bernasconi and his wife, Jen, of Barre, and a sister, Jayne C. Bernasconi and her husband, Paul, of Baltimore, Md.
She is also survived by a nephew, Jason B. Bernasconi of Barre; by nieces, Stacey Shapiro and Talia Shapiro, both of Baltimore; by her maternal aunts, Joyce St. Francis of Burlington, Claire Simmonds of Riverside, R.I., and Barbara "Bobsy" Wilson and her husband, Richard, of Colchester, Conn.; by a maternal uncle, Charles A. "Skip" Griffin and his wife, Laurel, of Oceanside, Calif.; by her paternal aunt, Edna L. Bernasconi of Barre; and by the wife of her late paternal uncle, Rosemarie Bernasconi of Burlington, Vt.; and many cousins.
Her passing is also deeply mourned by her mother-in-law, Anita Aughey, her sister-in-law, Donna Lohmeyer and her husband, Richard, and her nieces, Dina and Dara Ely, all of Mount Arlington, N.J.
Jan was blessed with the love of many wonderful friends. The family is deeply appreciative of the care and attention shown by so many over the course of her illness, especially the devotion shown by Barbara Puddicombe and Mary Chambers of Stowe and many other friends and neighbors; and by her UVM college roommates, Dede Dooley, Laura Breckenridge, Carol Tuzzio and Marsi Richter; by many childhood friends, including Robin Gingras, Yvonne Garand and Jay Morris; and friends from her professional life, including her former law partners, Gail Straith of Michigan and Stephanie Mapes and Kate Kronk of Burlington.
The loss of Jan will also be felt for all her days by her best pal, Sophie, her beloved Golden retriever.
Jan was predeceased by her beloved mother, Carole; by her grandparents, Charles and Marilyn Maxine Griffin and Rene and Dorothy Bernasconi; by her paternal uncle, Rene Bernasconi; and by her father-in-law, Robert M. Aughey Sr.
Her Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Wednesday, October 3, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. at Blessed Sacrament RC Church, Mountain Road, Stowe, of which Jan was a communicant. Burial will follow in Hope Cemetery, Barre. Friends and family are invited to pay their respects to Jan at the Hooker and Whitcomb Funeral Home, 7 Academy St. in Barre, on Tuesday between the hours of 4:00 to 8:00 p.m.
The family wishes to express their gratitude to Lamoille Home Health & Hospice for their skilled and loving care of Jan over the past year in her home. Special thanks are extended to Ann Tempesta, RN, for her faithful and devoted hospice care; to Rev. Benedict Kiely, Stowe, for Jan's spiritual care; and to Drs. James L. Bernat, DHMC, Rup Tandan, Fletcher Allen Neurology, and Kimberly Bruno, Morrisville Family Health Care, for their years of expert care.
However you knew Jan, we ask that you remember her that way. As Jan fervently believed, "To live in the hearts we leave behind is not to die."
Published in Times Argus on Oct. 1, 2012