Janice Barbara Gay, Evansville, WI
August 19, 1929 - May 15, 2017
Janice Barbara Luther Gay, 88, died Monday, May 15, 2017, at Saint Mary’s Hospital in Madison, WI, from a bacterial blood infection that arose as an unintended consequence from cancer treatments. She was born on August 19, 1929 in Boston, MA, the daughter of Helene Marie Pinel Luther and Dr. Eliot Horton Luther. She started life in an idyllic setting, living at the facilities of the Westfield Tuberculosis Sanatorium in Westfield, MA. In those days, institutions were self supporting, and Janice loved tagging along with the hired men who let her help with so many things. And she learned there from the horse farming a love for Morgan horses that she pursued throughout her life. She was in the hurricane of 1938 that went up the Connecticut River Valley. When she was twelve her father died from tuberculosis, undoubtedly contracted from the very people that he helped. She had dearly loved her father, and spoke of him often, and of his many accomplishments, including his extensive butterfly collection in which she also had a creative part. When her father died, one of the hired men made her a beautiful cherry wood desk which was very special to her in which she kept all of her special life mementos for her entire life. She was not one to share about her hardships in life, but it very obvious to those her knew her that after the death of her father she lived through many hard experiences. She was a determined worker who was exceptionally educated and witty. Like her mother, she pursued nursing, and graduated from Skidmore College in New York with a nursing degree. She was the “pretty blonde haired second shift nurse” at a hospital bordering New York City in “New Joisey” She also worked in the emergency room at the Harlem, NY Hospital, and had many stories about that experience including stories about “Friday night fight nights, and the rats of Harlem that were as big as cats, and what those rats sometimes did to the Harlem babies.” Her nursing career ended with the arrival of Ronald, her first child, in 1954. She and her husband John Art Gay, an accomplished engineer, had together seven children one of which was miscarried. John predeceased her in 1988. Together they lived in many places, but they landed in Idaho near Roberts, ID in 1965, where she remained on her small farm with her family, and her goats, and cats, and dogs, and, yes, her beloved Morgan horses. She came to live with her son and his family in Evansville six years ago because of health reasons. She was very artistic, especially in woodcarving. She loved to sew, and made clothing for her children, especially matching western shirts which they would wear when they where showing their horses and ponies and participating in rodeos and horse shows in Idaho, Utah, and Wyoming. She was an organic gardener before people even heard of it, but unfortunately her enthusiasm for the use of cat litter, (sawdust of course) and what it contained and its benefits for the garden was not mutually appreciated by her children.
She is survived by her son, Ronald Eliot Gay, his wife Karla and their six children: Stephen, Samuel, Simeon, Sylvia, Suzannah, and Sarah. Her five daughters are: Wendy Curran, her husband John and Wendy’s daughter Bobbi Jo. A deceased daughter, Amanda Lynn. Wylma Cooley, her husband Randy, and their four children: Melissa Lee, Jessica, Bennie James (BJ), Jamie. Sheila Franklin, her husband Rob, and their children: Christopher, Courtney, and Olin. Allyson Gay, her husband Bobbie Meyer, and Allyson’s children Shayna and Kristin. And lastly Diana Robertson, her husband Randy and their children, Brandi and Heather. Janice Gay is also survived by twenty-two great-grandchildren, and her special cat “Scooter.” She will be greatly missed.
Her visitation and funeral will be held at the Grace Independent Baptist Church in Evansville, WI on Saturday, May 20, 2017 at the times of 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. respectively.