Janet McIlwaine
Janet McIlwaine
Janet McIlwaine

Obituary of Janet McIlwaine

On the beautiful, bluebird afternoon of Saturday, September 14, 2019, the world lost a truly special soul with the passing of beloved wife, mother, grandmother and sister, Janet Marie (Soran) McIlwaine, at the age of 73. Janet’s remarkable spirit is carried on by her husband, four children, eight grandchildren, five siblings and an extended family of relations, colleagues and friends from every walk of life. Janet was born on August 9, 1946 in Denver, Colorado to James (Jim) and Genevieve (Jane) Soran. On June 17,1967 she married John (Jay) Conrad McIlwaine. Together with Jay, she raised four brilliant and exceptional children- a son, Tiernan, and three daughters, Alanna, Kara and Stacey. She received a bachelor’s degree in social work from Seattle University in 1968 and then a master of social work degree from Colorado State University in Fort Collins in 1986. Jan worked as a social worker for 30+ years in the Denver area. Although she had so many wonderful qualities, Janet’s true superpower lay in helping, teaching and counseling others. She perfected this power during the 16 years she worked as a social worker and victims’ advocate in the Emergency Department at Denver (General) Health, and then for the 17 years she worked as a case manager and eventually director of the Palliative (Supportive) Care department for Kaiser Permanente. Her crowning achievement was being selected for the distinguished KP Summit Award in 2006 for her instrumental work in the research and development of that department. The magnanimous guidance and counseling she provided to those suffering and in need, including her family, friends and countless clients, was rooted deep in her core. Her astute advice and understanding came seemingly without effort. So too did her humor. Janet could split your sides from laughing at her quick wit and brilliant one-liners. Away from work Janet relished countless outdoor adventures with her adoring and devoted husband of 52 years and her four children. Whether in a kayak, on skis, on a bicycle, or on foot, Janet loved nothing more than experiencing and exploring the beautiful outdoors with the ones she loved. While she really enjoyed visiting many of the national parks and wild places of the western US and Canada, Glacier National Park and the states of Washington, Utah and Colorado were definitely very special to her. The hours are truly innumerable that she spent hiking in the open spaces of Jefferson County Colorado. Janet also cherished the annual girls’ weekend getaways to Breckenridge and the Broadmoor that she shared with women who were dear to her, over the years. We have heard that they could get quite lively. Known affectionately as “Nana” to her 8 adored grandchildren, she radiated pure joy and love whenever she was goofing around and playing with them. They will forever remember her for her humor and her gentle, loving nature. During the last several years, Janet was the epitome of grace and equanimity while living with and enduring the cruel, gradual thief known as Alzheimer’s disease, never losing her shrewd sense of humor nor her adoration for her family. Despite losing the ability to communicate verbally, she could still make us laugh and one could physically see her energy and mood brighten whenever family was around her. There is now a giant void in the world where Janet’s spirit and energy once occupied. A celebration of Jan’s life will be held on the afternoon of Saturday, October 5th, 2019 at her and Jay’s home in Conifer at 26196 Rea Ave, Conifer, CO, 80433 starting at 1:00 pm and going until dusk. Guests are welcome to come anytime during those hours and are welcome to stay for as little or as long as they would like. Also, for those who choose to attend the celebration, please bring a single flower, not a bouquet or an arrangement, to contribute to a group arrangement as well as a small to medium size rock to add to a rock cairn that will reside on the property in Conifer. For those interested in making donations in Jan’s name, we are recommending Jefferson County Open Space, these parks held a special place in Janets’s heart.
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