In memory of
Janice Clare (Kirk) van Blaricom died Monday morning March 25, 2013. Janice was born September 5, 1912 a daughter of James and Lora (Huffman) Kirk. Janice "Jan" van Blaricom was pre-deceased by her husband Robert "Bob van Blaricom and oldest child, Nan van Blaricom. She is survived by adult children, Tina Jensen (Richard), Kirk van Blaricom (Judy), and Dan van Blaricom (Beverly); grandchildren, Jana Gregg (John), Clare Colffin (Robert), Jay Jensen, Wesley van Blaricom (Cathy), Tom van Blaricom, Luke van Blaricom, and Annie van Blaricom; and great-grandchildren, Maren and Robin Gregg, Madeline, Andrew, Tacy and Ethan Colffin, and Daniel Kaperak. Jan was born in Hebron, Ohio. As a young girl, her family moved to Columbus, Ohio, where they managed a grocery store; and extremely rare for a young woman, she enrolled at The Ohio State University at the age of 16 during the Great Depression. While at Ohio State, she was inducted into Sigma Kappa Sorority (later elected President of her chapter); her Senior year elected Secretary of her graduating class; and was Business Manager of the student newspaper, The Lantern. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in Medical Technology and worked in the laboratory at Grant Hospital in Columbus before the birth of her children. Most significantly, she met Robert "Bob" van Blaricom, to whom she was married more than 50 years before Bob's death in 1990. Their married life took them to Fredericksburg, Virginia and Huntington, West Virginia prior to moving to Kalamazoo in 1961. Jan became an active volunteer in Fredericksburg, giving many hours of time to Kenmore Plantation. In Huntington, Jan became quite active in civic affairs, once being editorialized as "Ma Huntington" of the Huntington Civic League, when she crusaded against pornography. She was an involved volunteer in her children's lives, serving as Campfire Girl troop leader and Chairman of the Campfire Area Council in Huntington, a Den Mother in Cub Scouts, as well as President of the PTA and was Secretary of the Little League and League Mother. The van Blaricoms were members of Johnson Memorial United Methodist Church and Jan spent many years involved in missions. Also, while in Huntington, she became active in the Woman's Club, serving as President. Later, she served in the West Virginia Federation of Woman's Clubs as President of the Southwestern District, and State Secretary. She was a Life Member of the Huntington Woman's Club; and she helped establish a chapter of Sigma Kappa at Marshall University. Upon moving to Kalamazoo, she became active in the Ladies' Library Association (the local Woman's Club), twice serving as Club President, and later serving as Michigan State Federation of Woman's Clubs President. She was Chairman of the Board of Directors of The Girl's Town Foundation. Girl's Town (currently operating as Guiding Harbor) is a residential treatment facility for young women with emotional and behavioral problems. She served as President of the Parliamentary Club of Kalamazoo and President of the State Association of Parliamentarians. She was a board member of the General Federation of Woman's Clubs and a fifty-year member of the American Association of University Women, Sigma Kappa Sorority and Ladies' Library Association. She was also a member of The Ohio State University Alumni Association. The posts she held at the First United Methodist Church of Kalamazoo are numerous, including President of both the Women's Society of Christian Service and the United Methodist Women. She was the first female Chairman of the Church Administrative Board and also Chairman of the Kalamazoo District Trustees of the West Michigan Conference of the United Methodist Church. Notably, she was also once selected "Kalamazoo Woman of the Year" by the Kalamazoo Women's Division of the Chamber of Commerce. In 1990, she and her husband Bob were awarded the Rotary Red Rose Award from the Kalamazoo Rotary Club, Jan's for outstanding service to this community and, in particular, for numerous positions of leadership in church and woman's club activities for more than half a century. Services will be held 11 o'clock Tuesday at the First United Methodist Church, 212 S. Park St. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service at the church. Interment will be in Mt. Ever-Rest North Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Ladies' Library Association Building Fund (333 South Park Street, Kalamazoo, MI 49007) or the First United Methodist Church of Kalamazoo (212 South Park Street, Kalamazoo, MI 49007). Please visit Janice's personalized webpage for online guestbook or to leave a condolence. Arrangements were made by the Langeland Family Funeral Homes, Memorial Chapel, 622 S. Burdick St. www.langelands.com .
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