Janice June Burrows Henman
June 20, 1938 ~ November 2, 2017
After one last precious Halloween night with her ever expanding family, our dear mother succumbed to the ravages of squamous cell cancer. She died peacefully in her home two days later surrounded by her children.
Janice June was born in Alberta, Canada the first child of Alvin and Enid Billingsley. Sister Geraldine (Geri) soon followed, and the family immigrated to California, eventually settling in Los Gatos, where little brother Robert (Bob) was born.
It was here as a sophomore in high school she met senior James (Jim) Burrows, the proverbial boy from across the tracks. They were married on August 11, 1956 and their first child Michelle was born March, 1958. Followed by her brother Bruce in September of 1959.
Father Al, forever restless, sought new opportunities in Nevada. He purchased a potato farm and several acres of land Southeast of the Carson River in Dayton, which he subdivided into five acre parcels to form Dayton Valley Ranches. Jim and Janice, and later sister Geri and her husband Sam Johnson, all followed with their young families. This was not the Dayton Valley of plush golf courses and custom homes. This was a barren wasteland of sagebrush, jackrabbits, and rattlesnakes. More a series of outposts than a neighborhood, manned by families such as the Brantinghams, Burkes, Pickles, and the already established Minor Ranch. These families propagated the species like it was a competition. They certainly assured a school bus route across the river. Janice did her part having two more children, Leslie and Steven.
By 1970 the commute had become too much for Jim. He had settled into the trade of concrete and had visions of his own company and needed to be closer to the action in Carson City. Janice packed up her reluctant brood, with new toddler Kevin in tow, and moved into a brand new home in Sky Ranch subdivision, at 524 Jackson Way. For forty-eight years this house would witness holidays, birthdays, weddings, and funerals. It would survive additions, remodels, spilled blood, beers and tears. It remains the center of our universe. Her final child Michael was born soon after the move in 1972. This brought the count to six, one ahead of sister Geri, who quickly countered with her daughter, Heather. Both women exhaustedly conceded a tie.
The end of the 70’s saw the unfortunate end of Jim and Janice’s marriage and a new era, with young children to support. Janice joined the work force. She started first as a teller, at First National Security Bank before settling into a twenty year career at Nevada Bell where she thrived. Back when you paid your phone bill in person, she made many friends with customers and co-workers alike. She even had a wry smile for the cash strapped customer who robbed her at gunpoint.
The 80’s were a bit of a rough ride as Nevada Bell closed its offices in Carson and she was forced to commute to Reno. She lost her sister Geri in a terrible car accident in 1983. She had also re-married in 1982 to Ronald Henman and became a step mom to Ronnie Jr., Richard and Tina. Although there were good times, this marriage struggled and by 1992 had sputtered to an end.
She would have many suitors but would never remarry. Her complete devotion to her family and the fact that she had four adult sons made relationships difficult. Imagine a sixteen year old girl with four fathers. Already a grandmother four times over, the 90’s would see this accelerate at a rapid rate. It is incredibly ironic that the same boys that made her life a living hell would one day make her so happy with their children. She would also insure the security of these grandchildren by being instrumental in the creation of the boys’ company, Burrows Brothers Concrete.
When her father Alvin died in 1997, she moved her mother Enid close by and they became constant companions. After her retirement in 1999 they spent summers traversing the outbacks of Nevada following softball and baseball teams. Caliente in July did not dampen their spirits. Late summers the whole family would retreat to Graeagle, California. Enid and Janice dined together most nights, went to shows, and even went on a cruise through the Panama Canal. When Enid finally passed, in 2010 at ninety-two years old, it was a tremendous blow. Janice continued to stay active in her grandchildren’s lives, the Graeagle tradition continued, as well as trips to Northern California to visit granddaughter Cheyenna at Humboldt State, and visit lifelong best friend Mary Tharpe and her husband Bill in Redding.
There were more sporting events as grandson Trevor emerged as a two sport athlete at Dayton High where his father Mike has helped guide the baseball program for almost twenty years. She was also kept very busy as guardian of grandsons, Christian and Isaiah. The latter currently writing for Carsonnow.org and a senior in high school, lived with her until the end, and was a great sense of pride and joy. Four new great grandchildren and two more on the way helped soothe her mind as the illness progressed. But the most precious moments would remain the quiet ones, when the guitars would come out and her sons, now joined by their sons, would sing her their songs. This is how she spent her last few struggling breaths.
Our mother was our North Star, the guiding light by which we navigated our lives. We have been set adrift, exposed to the winds until we can somehow find our bearing. We are so grateful for the overwhelming kindness and support we have received. For it is through this love that we will find our way.
She is preceded in death by her sister Geraldine Johnson and her parents Alvin and Enid Billingsley. She is survived by her brother Robert (Lisa) Billingsley and his daughters Elizabeth, Rebecca and Abigail. Her daughters Michelle (Chris) Derby, and Leslie Burrows and her sons Bruce Burrows, Steven (Tracey) Burrows, Kevin Burrows, Michael (Tara) Burrows. Her sister Geraldine’s children Daniel (Jen) Johnson, Lori (Darrel) Brantingham, Philip Johnson, David (Karen) Johnson, John (Donna) Johnson, and Heather (Scott) Mastan. Her beloved grandchildren Derek, Micah, Nicole, James, Cory, Neil, Brittany, Forrest, Cheyenna, Jacob, Jessica, Christian, Isaiah, Trevor and Adam, and twelve great grandchildren with two on the way. Her dear friend Mary Tharpe and husband Bill.
We would like to thank Christi Connely and everyone at the Carson Cancer Center where she made great friendships while battling this horrendous disease.
Our mother touched many of our lives and her passing has left a tremendous void. We would like to ask all who knew her to help fill this void by joining us in a celebration of her life on Saturday, November 18 at 11:00 a.m. in Carson City at Waltons Chapel of the Valley, 1281 N. Roop St. Followed by a reception at Silver Oaks Golf Course, 1251 Country Club Dr., Carson City in the banquet room.