Janet Lenore Vaughan (Malling) Ely
Resident of San Jose
The world lost a true giver when Jan Ely passed away due to complications from Alzheimer's in Los Gatos, CA, December 26, 2019. She was 78.
Jan had a warm heart, a gentle spirit, and a radiant smile that made everyone around her feel appreciated and loved.
An elementary teacher in the Cambrian School District (Farnham and Sartorette schools) for 37 years, many will remember Jan as a favorite teacher. "She had that passion that good teachers have," said Richard Wendell, who was principal at Sartorette before becoming an assistant superintendent. Wendell and other coworkers described Jan as the perfect combination of organized, knowledgeable, bright, and caring. Jan loved being an educator and enjoyed making a positive impact in the lives of young children. Jan forged positive and affectionate relationships with students, families, and colleagues. More than anything, Jan was passionate about her students and looked forward to seeing and hugging them every day. She enjoyed the friendships of her colleagues and took great joy in seeing her students learn and grow.
Janet Lenore Vaughan was born September 14, 1941, at San Jose Hospital. Raised in Palo Alto, she graduated from Cubberley High in 1959. She attended Biola University and San Jose University, graduating in January 1965 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in education.
Jan married Richard Malling, a school counselor, and they divorced amicably several years later.
When she was in her late thirties, Jan met and married Hal Ely, who was the principal of Farnham (she subsequently moved to Sartorette), and began the long honeymoon that was their life together. Hal treasured Jan as the vibrant, vivacious, and effervescent love of his life.
Jan and Hal, along with family or friends, traveled all over the world: Hawaii, Alaska, China, Japan, Germany, Austria, The Panama Canal, Australia, and Egypt to name a few trips. With her warmth and infectious smile, she won over many around the world, forming life-long friendships.
Jan was a great corresponder and letter writer, keeping in touch with friends near and far, old and new, and had a gift for making people feel welcome. She was a gracious hostess and enjoyed entertaining family and friends whenever they would visit.
Jan grew up in the church and maintained her Christian faith her whole life. She attended Bridges Community Church (previously First Baptist Church) of Los Altos from an early age. Though she wasn't outwardly religious, Jan had a servant's heart and compassion for those in need. She lived every day with kindness and grace toward everyone.
True to her giving nature Jan volunteered to causes close to her heart and gave generously with her time. Jan also enjoyed dancing, swimming, tennis, bowling, and thrift store shopping. One of her favorite things was to hunt for designer clothing at thrift stores. She had a great sense of style and loved a good bargain.
Jan loved champagne, white wine, and ice cream and, thus, her pedometer to keep her body trim. She had to do 10,000 steps a day, and there were times where she was constantly in motion.
Jan was a loyal friend to many and loved by all who knew her. She is survived by Harold "Hal" Vialetus Ely, her husband of 40 years; four stepchildren, Craig (Christine) Ely, Marc (Susan) Ely, Bret (Judy) Ely, and Martha (Ron) Honda; nine grandchildren; and nine great grandchildren. Jan was preceded in death by her brother, Robert Leslie Vaughan; her father, Herbert Leslie Vaughan; and her mother, Inez Jeanette (Duncan) Vaughan.
The family wishes to extend a special thank you to Jan's caregiver, Chantale Gibbs; the staff at the Alzheimer's Activity Center of San Jose; the staff at Cedar Creek of Los Gatos for their exceptional care and compassion as well as Suncrest Hospice; and all of the clinical professionals who guided and supported them through Jan's illness.
In lieu of flowers, please spread love and kindness to someone and raise a glass of wine or an ice cream bar in remembrance of Jan.
The family will hold a celebration of Jan's life in the spring of 2020. View the online memorial for Janet Lenore Vaughan (Malling) Ely
Published by San Jose Mercury News/San Mateo County Times from Jan. 8 to Jan. 17, 2020.