Janet Berniece Severson was born in Rockford, Ill., in 1925. She passed away peacefully at her home on July 12 of this year after a long illness.
A private memorial was held on July 20.
She graduated from Northwestern University with a bachelor's degree, master's degree and two years toward a doctorate.
With her husband, John, she helped transform the family farm in Rockford, Ill., into the Severson Dells Nature Center, providing environmental education to thousands of area children and adults.
Jan was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. Her focus on families manifested itself in the organizations she served, such as the Infant Welfare Society of Chicago, the Human Services Commission of Santa Barbara, the Cancer Foundation of Santa Barbara, Family Service of America and Alan Hancock College in Santa Maria.
Both Jan and John were passionate about the arts, as exemplified by their ongoing involvement with the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts and the Community Arts & Music Association. She led several of these organizations, but her passion was being a volunteer.
Her journey through life led her to be chosen "Woman of The Year" in Santa Barbara in 1999. She was very proud and humbled by this achievement. This is what she wished for everyone:
Find your significance
Find joy in it
Serve and sacrifice
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the PCPA Foundation, the Family Service Agency of Santa Barbara or CAMA.
Arrangements entrusted to McDermott-Crockett Mortuary.