Jan was a warm, patient, kind and gentle presence in the lives of her family and friends, who never had a bad word to say about anyone. She was appreciated for her gifts of music, her beautiful voice and laughter, and was known for her reflective story-telling of her life on her Midwest farm and her travels around the world.
Janice Mae Sandy was born on March 11, 1936 in Omaha, Nebraska to Lawrence Edward Sandy and Mildred Mae Donahoo. She was raised on her father’s farm in Gretna, Nebraska, a small town 10 miles west of Omaha. She enjoyed telling stories of growing up on the farm, and of her idyllic childhood. She and her sisters, Lois and Carol, along with her twin brother Gerald attended a one-room schoolhouse, which housed grades one through eight and she graduated from Gretna High in a graduating class of 14 students. Her chores on the farm included being solely responsible for the chickens, gathering the eggs from the hen house, and calling them in from the trees at night to put them to roost in the chicken house. She loved cats. On the farm, she had 17 working cats at one time, her favorite being one named Misty, who inspired a young Jan to erect the Mistyville Cemetery, a pet cemetery on the property of the farm, in honor of her beloved pet’s untimely departure. Throughout her life she had many cats that had the privilege of knowing her compassionate and loving nature and shared her warm lap and gentle and tender affection.
After high school, she attended Wayne State Teachers College for 2 years, graduated, worked as a teacher for a year, and saved up enough money to attend the University of Nebraska where she received her Bachelors degree. After college she moved to Denver Colorado where she taught 4th grade. She lived in Denver for 8 years before moving to and settling in the Bay Area.
She was happily married to Joseph Thomas Bishop of Portland, Oregon for 48 years, raising their two daughters Jennifer and Jill in Los Altos. She was a devoted and kind wife, mother, and grandmother to Jennifer’s children: Nate, Andrew and Sophie.
In her professional life she was a grade school teacher - in Denver, Colorado and in Oakland, California. After her children entered elementary school, she returned to teaching in the Los Altos school district as a substitute teacher.
She loved travel and fondly recounted her many trips with stories, photos and scrapbooks. On September 18, 1964, when she was 28, she embarked on a trip around the world, traveling for about a year with another teacher on sabbatical. Her travels took her to Japan, India, Pakistan, Egypt, Jordan, Iran, among other countries. She was admired for her curiosity and adventurous spirit, and inspired the young women in her life by her independent nature. She traveled to Europe on 5 separate trips both when she was single and after she married. She loved learning about the customs and traditions of other countries, and enjoyed meeting people on her trips.
She was passionate about music, often pausing when she heard a certain piece of music to enjoy and take in and feel every note, pitch and vibrato. She loved Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, and Sarah Brightman. She loved opera, and musical theater and classical music. She played and taught piano and gave voice lessons, sang soprano in the church choir, and was asked to sing many solo compositions during church services and accompany regular church services on the piano.
Jan possessed an abundance of empathy, love and generosity, which she bestowed on others. She had a clever and quiet wit, and took joy in every day moments. She enjoyed life, taking advantage of her time with family, and friends. She once said, “life passes quickly, try not to take it too seriously”.
Jan passed away on Friday January 19, 2018. She was predeceased by her mother Mildred Miller, father Lawrence Sandy, brother Gerald Sandy, and sister Lois Merchant. Survived by her sister Carol Reiss, daughters Jennifer and Jill Bishop, husband Joseph Bishop, and grandchildren Nate, Andrew and Sophie.
Her smile was sincere, her compassion genuine. Her sudden and unexpected death is a giant loss felt by family and friends.
A celebration of her life will be held at Christ Episcopal Church at 2pm, on Saturday February 10, 2018. A reception will follow the service. Christ Episcopal Church is located at 1040 Border Rd, Los Altos.