Friday, April 21, 2017
4:00 PM to 7:00 PM EDT
Life Story Funeral Homes - Betzler
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Food and drinks will be served.
Saturday, April 22, 2017
10:00 AM EDT
St. Thomas More Parish
421 Monroe Street
Kalamazoo, MI 49006
Followed by a luncheon in the Parish Hall
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
A woman of high moral character, Janice DiGiovanni lived her life centered in love, compassion, and conscious service of others. With a boundless passion for learning, Janice embraced each day as a gift and an opportunity to powerfully connect with those she loved. Janice celebrated her good fortune in the blessing of sharing her life with her beautiful children, as well as the many children she cared for at school. To all who knew her, Janice was an inspirational woman who strived to make each day her best and to live her life as a gift. Though her time here was much too short, her beautiful legacy leaves a lasting imprint on the hearts and lives of those she treasured most.
Janice was born in 1956, which proved a year of vibrant growth, with consumerism taking off in previously unimaginable ways. For the first time in history, seven out of ten families in the US owned an automobile, and new laws were created to require seat belts to be installed on all new cars. The new home market exploded while the baby boom continued to proliferate. McDonald’s, TV dinners, cans of Coca-Cola, Lego, Velcro, and The Mickey Mouse Club all became household mainstays, while Rock and Roll music continued to grow in popularity with more idols including Elvis Presley, Bill Haley and the Comets, Chuck Berry, and The Platters. This time of peace and plenty grew especially bright as Joseph and Janet (Belakowski) Mikulicz, of Newark, NJ, along with their 10-year-old son, Joel and 7-year-old daughter, Judy, welcomed their youngest child Janice into their hearts and home on April 17th.
Growing up in Springfield, New Jersey, Janice learned the values of hard work and commitment at a very early age. As her parents owned a small grocery store, family life centered around the happenings with the store and the assurance of exceptional service to the many community members who shopped there. Janice’s sister Judy was often responsible for the care of Janice when she was young, as a result, the two forged a deep connection and companionship that lasted their entire lives.
Janice’s core value of hard work propelled her through Jonathan Dayton Regional High School where she excelled in her academics and was active in many school activities. With the powerful combination of her desire to be of service to others, a strong work ethic, a long history of academic success, and an innate love of learning, Janice attended the University of Pennsylvania where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy. Janice’s strong commitment to continuous improvement helped her earn a Master’s degree in special education technology at Western Michigan University. She later taught occupational therapy students at Western as an adjunct professor.
With equal parts joy and honor, Janice embraced the privilege and responsibility of motherhood with her signature self-discipline and compassion. Welcoming her three children, Anne, David, and Paul, into her heart and life was her single greatest joy and the very best part of her 26-year marriage to her ex-husband, Pat DiGiovanni. As a mother, Janice was undeniably committed. She lovingly instilled the values of family, education, the arts, fiscal prudence, excellent self-care, effective communication, and compassion for others. She insisted on proper grammar, dinner time as a family, and only buying what they could afford. Janice supported each of her children in all of their endeavors with unwavering faith in their capacity to succeed. Janice's natural empathy for others also inspired her children beyond measure. A long-time member of St. Monica Church, and later St. Thomas More Student Parish, Janice’s Catholic faith provided a strong moral compass for the entire family. Family friends made at Our Lady Star of the Sea when they lived in South Carolina remained some of her closest.
Twice a year Janice made sure the family vacationed back in New Jersey. There they connected with family and the special places that helped mold Janice’s life path. While sharing her childhood home, Janice fondly reminisced about taking the train with a friend to New York City, the roots of her love of dancing, and the books, like Pride and Prejudice, she so enjoyed reading.
Throughout her lifetime of working with others as an occupational therapist and a special education supervisor, and for the past five years as the principal at Bert Goens Learning Center in Lawrence, Janice’s heart-centered life touched, moved and inspired many. Students, their parents, coworkers, and community members found their lives vastly improved for the conscious good care Janice assured each and every one she served. There simply was no room for anything less than “What’s BEST for the kids” in Janice’s psyche and she dedicated her life to fervently fighting for just that. Even in the face of her own health challenges, Janice was quick to put the needs of others first. Whether raising money for new playground equipment for the school while too sick to work any longer, or personally checking on a friend in crisis, Janice’s love and devotion were abundantly clear. There truly was no safer place for others to simply be than in the safe harbor of Janice’s boundless heart.
Though the world has grown significantly duller in Janice’s absence, her bright, beautiful light will always be experienced through the people whose lives she touched. May deep comfort be found in the knowing that as we compassionately welcome others into our hearts, share deeply, dance freely with our beloved, and stand powerfully for our beliefs, we are celebrating Janice’s vibrant legacy in our own great lives.
Janice Mikulicz DiGiovanni died April 14, 2017, in the comforts of her home. Carrying her loving legacy forward are her three treasured children: Anne (Joseph Lewczak), David and Paul DiGiovanni; her beloved partner of seven years, Phil Martin; her loving siblings: Joel (Maria) Mikulicz and Judy (Tom) Brownlie; the proud father of her children, Pat DiGiovanni; cherished nephews: Steven (Heather) Brownlie, Michael (Carrie) Brownlie, Jordan and Anthony D’Angelo and Robert and Drew Bella and many cousins. Cremation will take place. Visit with family and friends while sharing food and drinks on Friday from 4-7pm at the Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Dr. Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Saturday 10am at St. Thomas More Parish followed by a luncheon in the parish hall. Please visit Janice’s personal web page at www.betzlerfuneralhome.com where you can read her story, archive a favorite memory or photo and sign her online guestbook before coming to the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Bert Goens Learning Center Playground Fund (www.bglcplaygroundfund.com).