Janice Jean Neely went home to be with Jesus and her twin sister Jean Janice on June 16, 2019 at the age of 92.
Jan was born along with her twin sister Jean to Myrtle and Roy Neely on February 12, 1927 in Grants Pass, Oregon. Her forebearers were pioneer settlers in the Grants Pass area. She had many cousins that she and Jean enjoyed playing games with and picking wildflowers.
Jan graduated from Grants Pass High School in 1945 where she played on several sports teams. She graduated from the University of Oregon in 1949. She received her Masters Degree from the University of Washington. Her first teaching job was in Roseburg teaching Health and P.E. In 1952 she moved to Cottage Grove where she taught Health and P.E. at Cottage Grove High School. Jan developed the girls’ sports program. Her favorite sport was tennis and her team went to state several times. She was named Teacher of the Year by the South Lane Education Association for 1971-72. She eventually went into counseling and retired in 1987. Jan was inducted into the Cottage Grove High School Athletics Hall of Fame on April 10, 2010. Then in April of 2012 the Coach Neely Fitness Trail, a 2/3-mile loop trail was developed and dedicated to honor her.
Jan and Jean were always very close and after retirement they lived together in their house on the hill, traveled to Italy, Africa, Alaska and Hawaii and hiked, camped, looked for rocks and searched for wildflowers. They loved birds, animals and all God’s creation.
They cared for their mother who continued to live in Grants Pass, taking turns driving back and forth, often over treacherous, icy roads to honor their mother’s wish to stay in her own home. She finally acquiesced and moved to their home where she died one day short of her 100th birthday.
Jan was a member at Riverside Community Church of God for all her years in Cottage Grove. After retirement Jan and Jean became a force at the church. Together they developed a beautifully organized Wednesday night program for children called Bible Explorers. The emphasis was on Bible memory work and understanding. Jan was church treasurer for several years, served on the board and maintained an unending interest in the budget. Jan and Jean sang in the choir for many years. Jan worked in the church library and led a Sit and Be Fit exercise class in her eighties.
Jan lost her beloved twin, Jean, in 2009. She moved to Magnolia Gardens in December 2013 and enjoyed her life there very much. She was very active leading exercises often, playing Bingo, Skipbo and going on many of the excursions.
Jan loved sports all the days of her life. She always had a competitive spirit. She played badminton at 4th of July BBQs, racquet in one hand, cane in the other and hiked some of the Bohemia Mountain Trail in her 80’s. She maintained an avid interest in TV sports, especially tennis and Duck football.
Janice Jean Neely was an amazing woman who will be remembered and missed by many.
A celebration of life will be held Saturday, July 20, 2019 at 2:00 PM at Riverside Community Church of God, Cottage Grove. Arrangements in the care of Smith-Lund-Mills Funeral Chapel, Cottage Grove, Oregon.