Obituary of Jan Voshart
Beloved wife, mother, sister, aunt, great aunt, counselor, and friend, Jan Voshart died quietly surrounded by a circle of loving family and friends on June 8, 2022. (For information on Jan’s memorial service, please see the bottom of this obituary.)
Jan was born on October 14, 1955, in La Crosse, Wisconsin, to Robert and Dorothy Voshart (Pellowski), the third of four children. A gifted child and an avid learner, Jan was passionate about bringing love and harmony to every environment of her young life. In 1977, she graduated from the College of St. Teresa in Winona, Minnesota, where she blossomed in a milieu that encouraged creative and adventuresome learning. After exposure to the healing vocation of Clinical Pastoral Education at St. Mary’s Hospital in the Mayo Clinic, Jan explored religious vocation with the Rochester Franciscans and then served as a director of religious education, before venturing to Easton, Kansas, to be a staff-community member at Shantivanam, the House of Prayer of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas. There, in the 120 acres of beautiful wooded land that exuded a sense of the sacred, she deepened her spiritual life and love of the earth, and also met her future husband, Tom Skorupa. After three years Jan transitioned to the pursuit of dietetics, spending a year at the University of Kansas and a yearlong internship at Good Samaritan Hospital in Cincinnati.
In January of 1990, Jan and Tom sealed the sacredness of their growing love. Their marriage became a veritable school for learning the reality of self-giving love. Over their thirty-some years of marriage they grew in their capacity to put up with each other’s shortcomings and to facilitate each other’s becoming their truest selves. While doing this, they embraced the wondrous adventure of raising their bright and beautiful daughter, Tara.
After several years of fruitful work as a dietician, Jan responded to a deeper call to healing work, and following a couple of years in pastoral ministry at St. Gabriel’s Church in Kansas City, Missouri, she completed a Master’s of counseling at UMKC and took a position with Synergy Services in Parkville, Missouri. While there, she received invaluable training in a variety of therapeutic models and worked with children, troubled teens, and victims of domestic violence, as well as couples and families.
While Jan’s years with Synergy were marked by rich working relationships and friendships, the call of the beauty of New Mexico—nurtured over years of frequent visits to this “enchanted” land—prompted Jan and Tom to venture to the Albuquerque area at the end of Tara’s college years. Following two positions at counseling agencies that built on her training as a trauma therapist, Jan began a private practice, Tender Presence Counseling, specializing in work with the traumatized and underserved. It was here that Jan’s gift of healing approached fulfillment. The loving service cultivated throughout her marriage and mothering relationships now fully blossomed; it was as if each of the previous stages in her life had prepared her for this new level of practice. There had been a growing awareness over the years that deep and sustainable healing only happens in the context of a loving relationship, and Jan found the necessary balance of maintaining professional boundaries while helping clients know that they were being loved into fuller being. Moreover, her healing love had a quality of real mutuality, based on a lifetime of opening to healing of her own personal traumas. As the saying goes, “If you light a lamp for someone else it will also brighten your path.” In the midst of her eventual illness, she also became more clearly attuned to the multifaceted nature of healing. She came to appreciate an interconnectedness between physical, emotional, and spiritual healing, both in herself and in others. She recognized that these dimensions were intimately connected with healing of the earth and of our wounded world. Our belief is that in God’s grace this kind of healing can continue to be shared from the other side.
Besides her lifework and relationships, Jan found joy in traveling (even if in the midst of a busy life it merely had to be virtual), cooking, sculpting and painting, gardening and landscaping, swimming, camping, hiking, and being in the beauty of nature. Besides creating and enhancing natural environments that brought a sense of rest, peace, and beauty wherever she lived, Jan thoroughly researched, planned, and worked with Tom to build a camper-trailer: this lightweight foamie trailer was a “hermitage on wheels,” in which they could take in the beauty of nature.
Jan’s family shares her deep gratitude for dear friends and guides who have been helpers on her journey, including cherished companions who made spiritual homes for her along the way: those in the community of Shantivanam; those in St. Therese Parish in Kansas City (including the small Christian community Jan and Tom were part of); the Norbertine Community of Santa Maria de la Vid Abbey in Albuquerque (including the Norbertine Associates), and members of their Celtic spirituality group in Albuquerque. Also among these “helpers” are a number of cherished personal friends and former clients who continued to brighten Jan’s path beyond the professional relationship. And, of course, this profound gratitude extends to the Ultimate Helpers, the persons of the Holy Trinity, the very source of the grace Jan has known.
Jan is survived by her husband Tom Skorupa; their daughter, Dr. Tara Skorupa; her brothers, James (Judy) Voshart of La Crescent, MN and Jeffry Voshart of Holmen, WI; nephews Dr. Chris (Courtney) Doran, Ben (Suzie) Doran, and Steven Voshart; and their children Hannah, Connor, Noah, and Veronica Doran, and Neva and Olivia Voshart.
She was preceded in death by her parents and grandparents, her beloved sister Kathleen Doran and nephew Michael Doran.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made to St. Therese Parish or the Norbertine Community.
The memorial service will be at St. Therese Parish, 7207 NW Highway 9, Kansas City, MO 64152 (816.741.2800) on Monday, July 11. There will be a brief reception time and a prayer service with a sharing of memories beginning at 10am Central time. This will lead into a Mass of Resurrection at about 11am, followed by a reception meal. All are invited to attend, but if you are unable to be there in person, the entire service will be live-streamed. In anticipation of the sharing of memories prayer time, we invite you to jot down a favorite story/memory of a time with Jan that you can either share during this prayer time or privately with the family.
Here is the link to enter the live service: https://vimeo.com/event/2228112/videos/722712520/