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Janet Marilyn Case (Jazab)

October 30, 1942 - October 26, 2015

Janet Marilyn (Jazab) Case, was a lifelong resident of Chicopee and a long-time member of First Central Baptist Church. She passed away unexpectedly Monday, October 26, 2015. Born on October 30, 1942 she was the second of the three Jazab girls who up grew up in the Willimansett section of the city. She attended Chicopee High School and married her high school sweetheart, David Case, on October 27, 1962. Their love and faith sustained them as they raised two loving daughters, Wendryn and Bonnie. Janet continued the legacy of their love as the proud grandmother of Lilli and Marguerite. She reveled in attending the girls’ numerous performances and sporting events, being amazed by their poise, confidence, and talents. She was always impressed by both their energy and kindness. Her trips to the beach with them were a special treat, especially their time in Florida, where waking up to watch the dolphins and then soaking up summer sun brought a welcome reprieve from the harsh New England winter.  

Mom loved tending to the flowers and the hummingbirds. She could often be found outside in the yard, checking on the new grass seed, wrangling unruly cucumber vines or envisioning the corner stone wall as a future waterfall and pond. She deeply understood and celebrated the joys of God’s creation (even the pesky shelter cat I brought into her house who she was working to retrain so he would not scratch furniture or snag drapery). She knew that it was important to notice the everyday things, a new blossom or the scent of beach rose on the breeze. Everything mattered. She would sit on her deck and watch the sun move, casting shadows through the hemlocks she had planted with David. “They are too tall now, blocking too much light… but the birds love them and they still manage to muffle some of the traffic noise.”  

Mom always had a project in mind, something to make or something to beautify. She made clothes for her daughters when they were small, latch-hooked rugs by the fire with David, collected bittersweet, winterberry and princess pine for terrariums and wreathes. Just last week she had picked out fleece with Bonnie for knotting into a no-sew blanket. In her youth, she was mostly on the go—hiking, biking, and skiing in the Chicopee State Park. She loved to golf until her back issues made it too painful and she turned to swimming for exercise.

Mom met every day and everyone with smiles, even when circumstances or health issues were heavy burdens. She had a gift for bringing joy to those she met, whether they were strangers or friends, and she would brighten their day with kind words or laughter. Whether she was trying to stay above water (she had gotten quite short) at the Scantic Valley Y warm-water pool or wandering the greenhouse at Randall’s Farm in Ludlow, she was a welcome presence wherever she went. She liked Sunday brunch after church with her family; filling a table at the Country Trading Post and ordering a “country twosome” with over-easy eggs, the kind that seem to smile back at you. Sometimes her sweet tooth would entice her to Friendly’s for a hot fudge sundae, a treat she has often enjoyed over the years– with her sisters, her daughters, and her granddaughters. (But, really, anything chocolate would suit her just fine.)

When I think about the way she cared for us, for her parents, her friends, for the babies and toddlers at church, for everyone she met, I am struck by her quiet faith and constancy along an often “rock-strewn” life journey. Yet always her focus remained steadfastly upon her blessings. Mom’s own legacy of love and her generosity of spirit compel me to learn the gentle way she had of walking with God even in darker times, so that I, too, may become one who brightens the path of others.

Finally, I remember her on the boardwalk at Crane’s Beach, and I envision her now, quietly watching the dancing dune grasses and rolling waves with Dad, content in the Everlasting Love that has never failed her…and will never leave us either. Thank you, Mom, for the blessing you have been in so many of our lives.