Janice Conner, a very special person, departed this life, August 11, 2023, at home with her family. She was very comfortable after a four-year battle with pancreatic cancer. She fulfilled the advice of Jim Valvano: “don’t ever give up.” Janice was born on January 5, 1940 in Wilmington Delaware to John W. and Louise D. Hurlock. After growing up in Richardson Park, she graduated from Conrad High School and later from the University of Delaware. She accompanied her husband, Jay Conner to Carlisle, Pennsylvania, where Jay attended law school, and she taught first and second grade for two years in one single classroom at the same time. That arrangement is unheard of today.
Upon returning to Delaware after Jay’s graduation, she channeled her incredible energy into chasing two fast moving twin boys, always going in opposite directions and an ever-energetic daughter. It was soon time to return to the classroom, and Janice did so by teaching art at Ursuline Academy for the next 18 years. In later years, many former students, when meeting her would say her art classes were the best experience they had during their school years. After retiring from Ursuline, she volunteered as the first art teacher at Saint Peter’s Cathedral School in Wilmington for three more years. At Saint Peter’s, she established their first art program.
Janice was an excellent artist in her own right and her paintings adorn the walls of her home, her beach cottage in Rehoboth, and her North Myrtle Beach condominium. Her hand painted cards are retained and framed by many of her friends and family members.
The next stage of her life gave her great enjoyment and relaxation. She joined the staff of the Nemours mansion where she was a tour guide, garden guide, flower arranger, and master decorator of the mansion for the Christmas season for 16 years. Many of her handmade Christmas tree balls are on display for thousands of visitors and tourists to enjoy.
Despite her busy schedule, Janice found time to serve and become a lifetime member of the Christiana Hospital junior board. Her artistic ability was only one of her many talents. She was an excellent musician and played in the handbell choir at Aldersgate United Methodist Church. At the Osher lifelong learning center, she played her flute in both the concert and intermediate bands.
Notwithstanding all the above, her greatest achievements and contributions were to her family. There was no better wife, mother, or grandmother. With Jay, she skied almost every mountain in North America. She was an excellent golfer, playing at both Wilmington and Rehoboth Beach Country Clubs and on many courses in Pinehurst, Palm Desert, and Myrtle Beach. Her favorite recreation, however, was fishing. She always caught more flounder, bluefish, and trout than Jay, Mark, or Todd. While Jay watched, she caught a 50-pound silver tarpon in the Everglades, and without help on the reel, she also caught a 75-pound white marlin off the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
Janice shared Jay’s lifetime, favorite activity of birding and accompanied him on monthly trips to Bombay Hook. When in South Carolina, Jay and Janice often visited Huntington Beach State Park, one of the top waterfowl refuge areas in America. Her favorite waterfowl was the Roseate Spoonbill, and her favorite backyard bird was the Ruby Throated Hummingbird. She always prepared and kept fresh the nectar for her tiny, amazing friends.
After Jay’s retirement, she and Jay traveled frequently. Although they visited many high-profile areas, such as the Galapagos islands, and Machu Pichu, their favorite experience was their Safari in Tanzania and Kenya.
As a mother and grandmother, she taught by displaying great self-discipline and work ethic, and the ability to interact with all people, no matter their personal, cultural, or political differences.
Janice’s family will greatly miss her; including Sharon, her sister (Butch), nephews, Brett and Curt; Jay, her husband of 63 years; her daughter, Kim (Larry); her sons, Todd (Dana) and Mark (Shelby); and her grandchildren, Alex and Jennifer Davis, Brendan and Drew Conner, and Jackie and Samantha Conner. Janice was a person for individuals of all ages, and an unbelievable inspiration to her loved ones, and to numerous others. We are all extremely grateful for having shared our lives with this very special person.
The family invites all of Janice’s friends to visit with them on Wednesday, August 23, from 5:00 to 8:00 PM at McCrery & Harra Funeral Home, 3924 in Concord Pike Wilmington, DE 19803. There will be a graveside burial service at Lower Brandywine Cemetery, 101 Old Kennett Rd., Wilmington, DE, the following morning, August 24, at 11:30 AM.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in her memory and appreciation can be made to Saint Peter’s Cathedral School in Wilmington at 310 West 6th Street, Wilmington, DE 19801; Penn Medicine, Abramson Cancer Center at 440 E. Marshall St., West Chester, PA 19380; or Bayada Home Health Care at 4250 Lancaster Pike, Suite 308, Wilmington, DE 19805.