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Janet R. Vohs


1944 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Janet R. Vohs Obituary
Janet R. Vohs, 72, of Brookline, MA longtime champion of children with special needs and devoted mother | died peacefully at home on December 26, 2016 after a valiant struggle with breast cancer. Her daughter Jessica and close friends were by her side. She was born in Dayton Ohio on October 20, 1944, the daughter of Henry and Rita Vohs of Rantoul, IL. There are people you meet in life who leave an indelible impression, Janet was one such person. She had a flare forlife! She was fiercely loving, unwaveringly loyal, inalterably focused. No one dwelt in possibility like she did. In her classic way, she spoke truth to power, to her family, and to her friends, in ways that made real listening happen and real change occur. No one benefited more from all that was Janet than her beloved daughter, Jessica. Her passionate devotion shaped both their lives. In her quest to create a fulfilling and beauty-filled life for Jess, Janet found her professional calling, first as an advocate for the rights of children with disabilities and, later, as a champion for all vulnerable populations. Janet earned a B.A. degree in English from Quincy College in Quincy, IL. She worked at the Federation for Children with Special Needs in Boston MA. for over 30 years, receiving their Parent Advocacy Award in 2013. She was a gifted writer, an artist with the written word | writing numerous articles for professional publications and resource guides for parents of students with special needs. Her work at both state and national levels altered the lives of countless children, families, and systems. Janet fought like a tiger to give Jessica a life of inclusion, in spite of severe disabilities -- to be educated, productive and break the bonds of institutionalization and labeling as a special needs person. She was active in forcing legislative changes to support policies of inclusion and instrumental in establishing the first statewide Parent Information & Resou- rce Center. She made many trips to Washington DC and spoke and lobbied for the cause of justice. Her strength and wish to be with her beloved Jessica sustained her through years of debilitating health. She is our hero. Janet was an avid reader, Scrabble player, and cook. She enjoyed grilling out for Jessica and friends. Janet loved travel, especially Paris(!) and was an explorer, a deep and thoughtful thinker, a lover of her one wild and precious life. Her vibrancy, zest for life and indomitable spirit will be emulated, but never imitated. Her beautiful spirit will remain with all who knew her; she will be missed forever. Janet is survived by her beloved daughter Jessica Vohs, brother James (Chris) Vohs of Champaign IL, sisters Cheryl Vohs of Rantoul IL, and Marilyn Vohs of St. Petersburg FL. Further survived by many nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends. She was preceded in death by her parents. The family would like to thank her superb home team | Carlos, Lester, and especially Mark; Dr. Come and her wonderful medical care team at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital; and her many other friends who supported her during her illness. A Memorial Service will be planned at St Marys in the spring. Memorial donations may be made to the Federation for Children with Special Needs, 529 Main St., Suite 1M3, Boston, MA 02129.
Published in The Brookline Tab from Jan. 14 to Jan. 25, 2017
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