In Memory

Janet Greene (Brown)

Janet Greene (Brown)

More sad news with the passing of our classmate, Janet Greene Brown.  Our hearts and thoughts go out to her family at this time of their loss.​​​​​​

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03/28/17 04:50 AM #1    

Chris Pinkham

Brown, Janet Greene Beautiful! No word better describes Janet Greene Brown's view of life. She enjoyed a great, fulfilling life. Janet was born in Wichita, Kansas, on July 19, 1953, to Jack and Betty Greene. She grew up in a loving, supportive, stable family that stayed together. They always had warm beds in a comfortable home with clean water, food and clothing. Her parents provided health care and opportunities they didn't have growing up, including a college education. Her lifelong support for organizations that helped those less fortunate stemmed from her love for her parents who devoted themselves to their family. She was a LATE bloomer, being youngest in her class, so her sparkling wit was known only to several close friends at school and church. She was a good student, except for P.E. She graduated from Wichita North High School, and then earned Bachelor's and Masters of Science Degrees at Kansas State University. She loved working and dearly loved being a teacher. She directed pre-school and taught first and second graders. Her passion was teaching children to read. She also taught seventh grade home school, high school English as a second language, and high school home bound students. Then she taught non-traditional prospective teachers at the local college and university. She loved teaching. Her eyes sparkled anytime a youngster crawled into her lap with a book to read. She became known as "Book Woman" to the children where her own children attended elementary school. Once noticed, the kids swarmed around her knowing they were about to enjoy an amazing story. She also led a Girl Scout Troup, and helped coach softball. She and Ivan, her true companion, met in graduate school and were married in 1979 and made many happy memories with only two nickels to rub together. They spent their one night honeymoon at a Howard Johnson's Hotel on their way to Ivan's first career job at Des Moines Area Community College. Their son, Nicolai, was born in Des Moines in 1980. After living in Des Moines for two years, they moved to Massachusetts where Ivan received a Fellowship at Boston College to study Social Economy and Social Policy. Their daughter, Kylia, was born in Boston in 1983. Janet worked at Boston College and devoted her time to Nicolai and Kylia during their three years there. After graduation they moved to Wichita where Ivan joined the business school faculty at Wichita State University. Janet loved living in Boston, she enjoyed being near her family even more. Their kids developed lasting relationships with their Grandpa Jack and Grandma Betty, as well as Janet's sister Connie and her husband Curtis. After 8 years in Wichita, they moved to Spirit Lake, Iowa so Ivan could join the family business. Their family enjoyed being outdoors, was nurtured in the robust recreational lakes and woods of the Iowa Great Lakes Region. Janet loved playing broomball and hockey on the family ice rink just steps from their front door on Big Spirit Lake. She loved cross-country skiing in the woods, also just steps away from their back door. In the summer time, the family took long bike rides and mixed in-line skating into their daily fun. Janet learned to downhill ski after the age of 40 and she slalom water skied in her 50's. Ask Kylia about their mother daughter double slalom water skiing and Janet winning the hula hoop contest at a friend's wedding shower. (Take that, P.E. teachers!) During their time in Spirit Lake, Janet managed the Deja Blues Diner, a restaurant she started with her husband Ivan, and joined Brownmed as VP of Human Resources. When Nicolai and Kylia left home for college, Ivan and Janet switched to high gear. Since they loved cities, they opened a sales office for Brownmed in Kansas City, Missouri, and lived there for 14 years. They had season tickets to several sports teams, live theatre groups, and live music series. They enjoyed movies and eating out. Best of all, they were rich, rich, rich in friendships and loved entertaining in Kansas City. They have many life-long friendships there. Though she met and got acquainted with new people easily, she was most attracted to very bright, caring people who demonstrated a commitment to doing social good and making our world a better place. Janet was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1996. After treatment and a not so optimistic prognosis, she barreled into life, knowing and living every precious moment. Her remission lasted twelve years and then the diagnosis of metastatic cancer in 2008, again with a very poor prognosis. Upon learning her situation, she cried and said "but I don't have any grandbabies yet!" That caused her daughter Kylia and son-in-law Matt to kick into high gear. Miles Garver was born 9 months later, and Gigi (her preferred name instead of Grandma) was ecstatic. Her granddaughter, Ruby Garver, was born 2 years later, and her second grandson, Jack Garver, was born 4 years after Ruby. She cherished her time with her three grandkids. Every day with her grandkids was a beautiful day! Janet Greene Brown, of Marblehead, MA, passed away on March 22, 2017. She died peacefully at Kaplan Family Hospice House in Danvers after living with metastatic breast cancer for eight years. Janet is survived by her husband, Ivan Brown; son, Nicolai Brown (Li-Shan); daughter, Kylia Garver (Matt); grandchildren, Miles, Ruby and Jack; father, Jack Greene; and sister, Connie Wilson (Curtis). She is preceded in death by her mother, Betty Greene. A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. on Monday, March 27, at First Church in Boston Unitarian Universalist, followed by a reception. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be given in Janet's memory to The Janet Greene Brown Endowed Graduate Fellowship Fund for Literacy at Boston College. Checks made payable to: Boston College. In the memo line, please write: In memory of Janet Greene Brown. Mailed to: Boston College, Attention: Aza Chirkova, Cadigan Alumni Center, 140 Commonwealth Ave, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467 or Online: Go to, - In the "I wish to make my gift to:" drop down menu click "other" and insert the name of Janet's fund: The Janet Greene Brown Endowed Graduate Fellowship Fund for Literacy. Donations may also be given to Janet's favorite project: P.A. Shaw Elementary School, an urban elementary school in need of resources and support. Checks made payable to: P.A. Shaw Elementary School. In the memo line, please write: Library in honor of Janet Greene Brown. Mailed to: Morgan VanClief, Library Media Specialist, P.A. Shaw Elementary School, 429 Norfolk St., Dorchester, MA 02124. Arrangements by Eustis and Cornell of Marblehead. Online guestbook at

Published in The Wichita Eagle on Mar. 25, 2017

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03/28/17 10:30 AM #2    

Jill Aronis (Ballou)

Clearly, Janet's contributions to the children of the world are monumental.  She is going to missed terribly by friends and family, and I'm so sorry she has left us.  She leaves a light that will burn brightly. 

03/28/17 11:20 AM #3    

Thomas Springer

I did not know Janet when we were in school together.  However we emailed each other numerous times in the past few years.  She was really special.  My prayers and thoughts to her family.  T. Springer

03/28/17 12:11 PM #4    

Nancy McDermeit (Devine)

I was very sorry to hear of Janet's passing. We'd last seen each other at the 40th reunion and caught up on old times. She was an amazing woman and she surely lived her life to the fullest in every way. I knew her both at Marshall and at North, She was so nice and so funny and so smart. Her wit was just amazing. She was so much fun. Her life is an wonderful testimony of love.  God bless you Janet.

Nancy(McDermeit) Devine

03/28/17 12:52 PM #5    

Sally Blake (LaMont)

I feel very lucky to  count Janet as one of my best friends at John Marshall and North High. She had a heart of gold and was one of the funniest people I have ever known! We had dinner together before one of our recent reunions, when I learned of her valiant 20-year struggle with breast cancer; she embraced life and death fully, with humor and grace. I am grateful to have shared this life with Janet.

03/29/17 07:35 PM #6    

LuAnn Watson (Tillison)

I, too, consider myself richly blessed to have known Janet. We were friends at John Marshall and North. She was truly one of the sweetest, funniest, brightest people I knew. We had so much fun together! We laughed so much together! Such a wonderful laugh! We studied together. We got through a lot of "stuff" together. I so enjoyed her family, too. It was beyond sweet to reconnect with Janet at our 40th reunion. I was so saddened to learn of her illness and her years of battling it. When we parted, I hugged her really tightly. Won't ever regret that hug. Sally Blake (Lamont), Janet, and I had lunch together maybe a year or so after that when she was in town to visit her Dad. She said, " My life will not be long, but it will be WIDE. I'm going to live WIDE." And she did. So many things accomplished. A dear and precious family. Many lives touched along the way...including mine. I will be forever grateful for having known her. Her courage and zeal for life were utterly inspiring. And I really look forward to seeing her again in Heaven one day. 

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