Janet Knobbe (86) loving wife, mother, grandmother and great grandmother passed away peacefully at “home” in the early morning hours of October 5, 2017 while being held in the loving hands of her family and friends.
Jan was born on November 8, 1930 in Carroll, Iowa to Clara and William Carver.
She was raised in Carroll and was a Graduate of St. Angela Academy in Carroll, Iowa (1948) and St. Anthony’s School of Nursing in Carroll, Iowa (1951).
On April 13, 1953 she married the love of her life, Joseph Knobbe, who would continue to be her companion throughout their lives together.
In 1957 Janet, Joe and their young son Jay moved from Denison, Iowa where Jan was a Nurse, to Waukegan and put down new roots.
Enough of the boring details, let’s get to the good stuff.
In January of 1968 after seeing her family of four kids all in school, she restarted her nursing career on the night shift in the OB department at Victory. We don’t believe at the time she had any idea that it was going to turn into what it became. Mom and I talked for hours about what was going to be in her obituary (she wanted to be a involved in everything). I’ve got a list of all of her accomplishments, the honors and accolades that she’s received and lists of all of the things she’s done throughout her career. I’m tossing all of that aside.
Let’s say this: Mom was 36 years old when she restarted her nursing career and on Thursday September 28, one week before she left us, she was honored at an event held by Vista for her 50 YEARS OF SERVICE.
And when she passed many of her friends had kind words for her. Her friends meant the world to her and today they will have their voice!
Some of the things that were said just before and after she passed – and we’re just touching the tip of the iceberg here: “I was blessed to have walked the path with her”, “Honored to have known her”, “Jan was an awesome (thanks, that’s one of Mom’s favorite words) woman, teacher, friend and mentor”, “Jan was like a mom to me”, “She left a legacy of love, dedication, service and humor”, “Jan lived life to the fullest”, “Jan never gave up on anyone” (my personal favorite). “Jan has always supported me personally, professionally, spiritually and emotionally”, “Jan was a big influence and a role model”, “Jan was a special lady”, “Jan saved my life” “She really was a force of nature and the definition of love and kindness with a couple naughty words thrown in!”
One of Jan’s greatest strengths was her inability to separate her personal life from her professional life (some might call it a weakness but I think they’re wrong).
If she wrote you up at work for poor performance, she was likely going to invite you over for dinner the next week because she was making lasagna. If she took your blood pressure at the Field House you were probably going to walk away knowing she was a huge Cubs fan and that she had four kids and eight zillion grandkids. If you went to CVS to have your cholesterol checked, you were going to hear about the fact that she has two artificial knees and a fake hip. If you went to one of her stroke classes, you were probably going to hear about a sale on cookies (and a coupon) at Butera Foods. That was Mom, loving, caring, kind, selfless and personable. Never saw that lady without a smile on her face and rarely did she see someone she didn’t hug. If you didn’t like hugs, you had better steer clear of Jan. She was that person, that if you were having a bad day, she’d appear from nowhere and add a little bit of sunshine.
The world is a better place with her in it and everyone who had the opportunity to meet her had their lives touched by this very special woman. Recently my sister gave Mom a little plaque with the words, "Mom, to the world you might be one person, but to one person you might just be the world." I think that sums up what Mom already knew and was prepared to show every day.
All we ask of you now is that you honor Jan’s legacy in some small way. A random act of kindness, a hug, a prayer, some volunteer work and that the next time you use a coupon to buy something that you look up and give mom a wink.
Jan was preceded in death by our Dad, Joe Knobbe on January 21, 2011.
Jan is survived by her children Jay (Pam) Knobbe, Jan (Dave) Jasperson, Joe (Kim) Knobbe and Jim Knobbe: Grandchildren Erin (Scott) McLeod, Corrin (Nate) Blazewicz, Catherine (Adam) Jakaitis, Lauren (Mike) Karner, Andrew Knobbe, Christina (Darin) Dimitroff, Michael (Rizza-fiancé) and Emily Jasperson. Great Grandchildren; Joshua McLeod, Kailee Blazewicz, Logan McLeod, Noah Blazewicz, Cailyn Jakatis, Harrison Karner, Owen Jakatis and Addison Dimitroff (plus 1 on the way). She was also a “surrogate” mom, grandma, sister and friend to countless others
Friends are asked to join the family in a celebration of Jan’s life on Sunday, October 8 from 4-8 p.m. at Congdon Funeral Home (3012 Sheridan Road, Zion, IL 60099).
Mass of the Christian Burial will begin at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, October 9 at St. Anastasia Church (624 Douglas Avenue, Waukegan, IL 60085) with visitation preceding the mass from 10 a.m. until the time of service.
In Lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the St. Anastasia Soup Kitchen at the same address.