Eulogy for Janice L. “Jan” Stoll
June 21, 2019
by Pastor John Partridge
In 1937, the world was changing. The Golden Gate Bridge opened for the first time, “Gone With the Wind” won a Pulitzer prize, Cy Young was elected to the baseball hall of fame, War Admiral won the Kentucky Derby, SPAM was introduced to the world, the Hindenburg exploded in Lakehurst, NY, war was ramping up in both the Pacific and in Europe, and the first commercial airline flight travelled across the Pacific. And just about the time that Amelia Earhart disappeared while attempting to circumnavigate the globe, Janice L. Stoll made her first appearance in Alliance, Ohio.
Jan was born on October 25th, 1937 to Lee and Roberta Freytag. By the time she graduated from Alliance High School, she was steady with her high school sweetheart Bill Stoll and the two of them were married on March 9th, 1957. Jan stayed home and kept the home fires burning while Bill spent some time in the Navy, but afterwards they raised Tammy together.
Jan was a regular at Eastern Star, but she could almost always be found at Christ United Methodist Church and she and Bill made sure that Tammy was there too. Almost every year the family would take some time off, spend time together, and make a trip out to Garden Grove, California to visit Bill’s mother.
In 1993 Tammy moved to Texas and not wanting to be so far away from their grandson, two years later, Jan and Bill did too. Tammy and Jan had a difficult relationship at times, but Mitchell was always the apple of Jan’s eye. She was his biggest supporter and his constant cheerleader. She was there at just about every sporting event or school program that he was ever in and she loved to take Mitchell to play mini golf. When they played, Jan always let Mitchell win… until she didn’t.
One day, when Mitchell was approaching adulthood, she stopped holding back and skunked him handily. He didn’t take it well and threw his putter into the water. But Jan just gently talked him down, explained to him the value of patience, and told him that even though winning is great, everyone should know how to lose well. These are lessons and memories that remain fresh for Mitchell and will stay with him for the rest of his life. Mitchell remembers that Jan loved to cook, and that she had a jukebox in her home will with old classics. She regularly played Elvis songs and taught Mitchell to sing Blueberry Hill with Fats Domino playing on the jukebox. The two of them often bonded discussing the latest news about the Cleveland Cavaliers. Mitchell said that while Jan may not have approved of every decision that he made, she never judged him and was always there to give him good advice. It seems to me, that Jan knew that she had made some mistakes while she was raising Tammy, learned from them, and tried to do better with her relationship with Mitchell.
The family lost Bill in 2008 and, in 2011, Tammy decided to move to Florida. At first, Jan thought that she would follow Tammy as soon as she could sell her house. But it took a while. And when the day came that her house finally sold, Jan called Tammy and announced that instead of moving to Florida, she was going to move back home to Ohio… and she did. Maybe starting over, again, in a new place, had lost its appeal, but whatever the reason, Jan came home to her hometown, to the things that were familiar, to the place where she still had friends, and eventually to her Lakeshore apartment at Copeland Oaks.
I think Tammy put her finger on one of the themes of Jan Stoll’s life when she said that Jan always tried to do her best. Ultimately, that’s immensely important. Jan knew that life isn’t perfect, that we don’t always make the right choices, that everything doesn’t always go well, and that our relationships aren’t always what we wished they could be. But in the end, no matter how life twists and turns, we all need to be a little bit like Jan. Don’t give up. Just keep swimming, just keep pushing, just keep going, and just…
…do the best you can.
One night I dreamed a dream.
As I was walking along the beach with my Lord.
Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,
One belonging to me and one to my Lord.
After the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that at many times along the path of my life,
especially at the very lowest and saddest times,
there was only one set of footprints.
This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it.
“Lord, you said once I decided to follow you,
You’d walk with me all the way.
But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life,
there was only one set of footprints.
I don’t understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me.”
He whispered, “My precious child, I love you and will never leave you
Never, ever, during your trials and testings.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you.”
Obituary for Janice L. “Jan” Stoll
Janice L. “Jan” (Freytag) Stoll, 81, of Copeland Oaks, went home to be with the Lord on Tuesday, June 18, 2019 at 12:00 pm at her home in Sebring.
Born on October 25, 1937 in Alliance, to Lee and Roberta Freytag, she lived in Alliance for most of her life.
A graduate of Alliance High School, Janice was a member of Christ United Methodist Church. She was also a member of the Order of the Eastern Star.
Janice enjoyed antiquing, traveling, beachcombing and collecting shells, and she supported several Native American organizations.
Survivors include her daughter, Tammy Smith of Kissimmee, FL; a grandson, Mitchell Lee (Brittany) Smith of Winter Park, FL; two nieces, Linda (Regis) Valentine and Diane (Ray) Shallenberger; three nephews, Robert Sims, Michael (Kathleen) Sims and Christopher (Rebecca) Sims; several great nieces and nephews; great-great nieces and nephews; cousins, Doris Lowers, Bob (Debbie) Graham and Shawn (Marsha) Graham.
Preceding her in death was her husband, William L. Stoll, whom she married on March 9, 1957 and who died on September 3, 2008; an infant daughter, Jody Lynn Stoll; a grandson, Andrew Smith; her parents; a sister, Carol Sims; and a nephew, William Sims.
The family wishes to give heartfelt thanks to Visiting Angels, Hospice of the Valley, Nurse Debbie RN, her aides, Anna and Audrie, social worker, Rebecca; the nursing staff of Copeland Oaks, and Annette and Mindy of Lakeshore Apartments.
The family will receive friends on Friday, June 21, 2019 from 11:00 am – 12:00 pm at Sharer-Stirling-Skivolocke Funeral Home. Her Funeral Service will begin at 12:00 pm with Rev. John Partridge, of Christ United Methodist Church, officiating. Burial will take place at Highland Memorial Park.
Memorial contributions are suggested to Shriners Children’s Hospital www.shrinershospitalsforchildren.org .
You are invited to view Janice’s tribute wall, offer condolences and share memories at www.sharerfuneralhome.com. Arrangements are by the Sharer-Stirling-Skivolocke Funeral Home.