Janice (Walts) Geng, age 78, of Columbia, Tennessee, passed away Wednesday, August 24, 2022. Her resolve to fight for life, and the grace with which she did it, was an inspiration to all. Janice is survived by her husband of 54 years Butch Geng; daughter, Lisa Davidson and husband Jason (Franklin, TN); grandsons, Jack and Grant Davidson; sister, Joan Black (Clayton, NY); sister-in-law, Ruth Walts (Rochester, MN); mother-in-law, Margaret Geng (Rowlett, TX); sister-in-law and husband, Carol (Geng) and Ray Dunaway (Rowlett, TX); many beloved nieces and nephews, along with extended family and friends. Janice was preceded in death by her brother, James Walts; sister and brother-in-law, Judy and Martin Fitchette (La Fargeville, NY); brother-in-law, John Black; and father-in-law, John Geng.
Janice was born in Watertown, NY to Mildred and Orrin Walts, who also preceded her in death, and was raised in Theresa, NY. Janice graduated from Indian River High School in Philadelphia, NY. She often shared her fond memories of their close knit community including that she loved growing up on the farm with her siblings and attending 4H events. The story where Butch recalls them riding the school bus together always came with a fun, signature Jan smile and hand toss as she did not remember it the way he did! While she was attending Hudson River State Hospital School of Nursing in Poughkeepsie, NY, the two had a more memorable introduction then married in 1968 at Saint John Catholic Church in La Fargeville, NY. Janice worked at the House of the Good Samaritan Hospital in Watertown after graduating from nursing school.
During Butch’s 25-year Air Force career, Janice embraced each new base to the fullest, creating a home for her family and fostering lifelong friendships. She was active in the Officers’ Wives Club, serving in roles to welcome new families and to make everyone feel as though they were not quite so far away from home, especially at the holidays. She worked as a registered nurse until moving to her favorite assignment in the Netherlands. The family enjoyed living in Europe where Janice ensured they traveled extensively and her volunteer work grew to include the Director of Catholic Religious Education. Janice had a green thumb and along with Butch took great care to brighten their many yards with colorful landscaping. The Netherlands’ tulip season and flower markets were a true delight for her.
Upon returning to the United States in 1985, the family settled in Montgomery, Alabama, where Janice and Butch lived until 2005. Janice became a Mary Kay Consultant. She loved helping others feel good about themselves, connecting a community and celebrating others which are all basic tenants that ran throughout this loving caretaker’s life. Her hospitality and warmth extended to Lisa’s friends. She and Lisa were very close, enjoying rewarding years together in the Girl Scouts in addition to Janice supporting her daughter’s many other activities. The two loved to cook, shop, and travel together, as well as plan family celebrations. Her love for and commitment to family lead Janice and Butch to move to Tennessee as Lisa’s and Jason’s family grew. “Grammy” was her most favorite title of all. She retired to help care for Jack and Grant, becoming their biggest cheerleader as they grew into young men.
Janice and Butch were active members in both the Montgomery and Nashville Corvette clubs, enjoying the fellowship of other Corvette enthusiasts and organizing trips to cruise country roads. Janice was also a talented craftswoman. She often turned hobbies into second businesses or cherished gifts. In Myrtle Beach, Janice had a cake decorating business, while in Montgomery she made children’s monogrammed clothing. Later in life Janice took her lifelong love for sewing to a new level, teaching herself to quilt. Janice was always up for a challenge and was rarely one to sit still, especially when her efforts resulted in something that could be shared. She created many quilts for loved ones these past few years, leaving behind a beautiful legacy in more ways than one.
A memorial mass to celebrate Janice’s life will be held on Saturday, November 19, 2022 at eleven o’clock in the morning at Church of the Nativity, 2793 Buckner Lane, Thompson’s Station, TN 37179. The family will hold a private interment at Middle Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery.
Local arrangements are with the T.R. Jetty Funeral Home in Clayton.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in Janice’s memory supporting ongoing research so that someday we may know a world without cancer. Janice was a loyal donor to St. Jude for many years and was grateful for the care that she received from Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center since 2005.
- St. Jude: http://giftfunds.stjude.org/JaniceGengMemorialGift
- Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center: give.vanderbilthealth.org/fundraiser/4091346