October 2, 1938 - November 12, 2017 Born in Minnesota Resided in Fremont, California
Janice Marie Thien (née Moehnke) was born in Eyota, MN on October 2, 1938 and died at her home in Fremont on November 12, 2017. She was diagnosed with MS (Multiple Sclerosis) over 50 years ago and finally succumbed from the long term effects of the disease.
Janice grew up in Eyota, a small farming community in southeastern Minnesota, the daughter of Art and Alma Moehnke. She was valedictorian of her high school class and was determined to attend the University of Minnesota, quite a radical idea for the time and place. She also had met and fallen in love with Tapeshwar Kashyap, an International Farm Youth Exchange student from India, who lived briefly in Eyota. They married in 1959 and moved to Fremont, where they lived for the next 22 years until the time of their divorce. Anil Kashyap (Katie Merrell) of Chicago, IL and Jay Kashyap of Fremont are her two sons from that marriage. She was also very proud of her granddaughters, Laurie Merrell and Julie Merrell.
Janice obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from San Jose State University and went on to teach kindergarten and third grade at Timothy Rix Elementary and Gomes Elementary. Her career spanned 27 years and was characterized by innovative and inspired teaching. She made life-long friends from her teaching days and looked forward to her monthly “Teachers’ Luncheon” with those dear friends to the end of her life.
In the early 1980s, Janice met and married Glen Eakin, her first art teacher. Glen, confined to a wheelchair due to polio contracted as a young man, and Janice created a company called “Commodore Tours”. This labor of love featured a four hour boat cruise of the San Francisco Bay for others in wheelchairs, many of whom were veterans and residents of convalescent hospitals. Glen died in 1994 due to complications of post-polio.
After retirement, Janice enjoyed painting, travel and volunteer activities. Her most important volunteer assignment was with the Friendly Visitor program of LIFE ElderCare of Fremont, a program which matches volunteers with homebound seniors. It was there that Janice met Bernie Thien, her “boss” who supervised the program. Janice’s visits were heartfelt as she understood the challenges of long term disability. Janice and Bernie were married in 2000 and enjoyed traveling and celebrating holidays with their family. Bernie’s children, Timothy Thien of Livermore, Mike Thien of Westfield, NJ and Katie Rand of San Clemente, CA welcomed Janice into their extended family and showed her great love and compassion. Special thanks to Janice’s beloved caregiver Yolanda Martinez, who made her final three years so comfortable as well as Loida Shelton, another treasured caregiver. Gratitude also to Dmitry Grudsky and Aurelia Martinez, her local art teachers who worked so patiently with her, nurturing and supporting her painting efforts up to the time of her death.
Janice was predeceased by her parents and her two brothers, David of Santa Rosa, CA and Marlowe Moehnke of Eyota, MN and is survived by her sister, Sandy Larson of Monterey.
A celebration of her life will be held Saturday, December 2 at 11:00 a.m. at Chapel of the Angels in Fremont.
Donations in her memory may be made to LIFE ElderCare, 3300 Capitol Ave., Fremont, CA 94538
or National MS Society (Online at: nationalmssociety.org)