Janice Claire Williams Macdonald left this earthly life on Monday, December 18, 2017, for a heavenly world free from care. Even though her human body remained alive until recently, the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease steadily and stealthily took pieces of her away from those of us who loved her. She tried to maintain the essence of her life for a quite a while, but eventually the disease won. The real “Jan” left us a few years ago, but she continued to let bright glimmers of her true self shine through from time to time, right up to the end.
Janice was the oldest of six children born to Forest and Claire Williams. She had a wonderful career, filled with excitement, interesting locations, lively discussions, and love. Lots of love. Janice began her working life as a secretary in the Grand Rapids area, and eventually landed a job at Aquinas College, working as an administrative aide at the then newly built Wege Center. Some years later, Jan was offered a job in Senator Philip Hart’s Washington DC office. She found new interests working in the press secretary’s office, made many friends and connections, and continued her love of life in that amazing political world. Janice was always open to new things; she worked for Representative William D. Ford on the Committee on Education and Labor, and also for Joseph Fisher, a representative from Virginia. After leaving “the Hill”, Janice worked for the American Counseling Association (ACA), which blended perfectly with her deep interests in mental health issues in Arlington County, VA. Jan believed in the goodness of people, focusing on human justice and peace.
In 1978 Janice decided to adopt a child as a single woman. Emily Sung Williams came to Jan as a 5-year-old, new to this country and new to a family of deep faith and love. The family experience was everything Jan wanted, and she worked diligently to make it the best family life possible. Jan later married George Macdonald and became a “step-mom” to six lively and lovely children. Her life was enriched many times over, and her daughter Emily found siblings in abundance. In addition, Jan was able to connect with the daughter she had given up for adoption when she was a young woman. Laura and Jan were fortunate to have had time to get to know each other, and Emily was thrilled to have a sister who’s life was so essentially tied to hers.
Janice is survived by her daughters Emily and Laura (Guerin); stepchildren (Dan, Tammy, Kate, Paul, Molly, Steve); siblings (Dennis, Barbara, Nancy, Pamela, John); many nieces and nephews; numerous cousins; and countless friends.
She was preceded in death by her husband George A. Macdonald.
Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Friday, December 22, 10:30 a.m. at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish, 1449 Wilcox Park Dr. S.E., Grand Rapids. Rev. James Chelich presiding. The family will greet friends and relatives one hour prior to the mass at the church. Interment Holy Cross Cemetery.
Donations may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association or the Clarendon House of Arlington, VA.