MARQUETTE, MI – Janice Cawthorne Coles Gill, 94, was born on July 1st, 1928 and passed away on September 28th, 2022, at Eastwood Nursing Center in Negaunee, MI, after a long journey with Alzheimer’s.
Janice met her husband, Gordon, while pursing a music degree at Northern Michigan University. After graduating, she taught elementary music in Escanaba, MI until she married Gordon in 1951. They lived in Fairbanks, AK and Pullman, WA before returning to Upper Michigan and settling in Marquette in 1957.
Janice spent many years teaching piano and passed her love of music to her daughter, Cindy, who also became a music teacher. Janice and Cindy enjoyed playing piano duets nightly for several years after Janice received her Alzheimer’s diagnosis.
Janice also enjoyed swimming. She spent a great deal of time at the family camp at Island Lake and could be found swimming whenever the air temperature was 50 degrees or above. Janice could swim around the lake twice and then to the island and back without stopping, a record that no one in the family has been able to beat.
After retirement, Janice, Gordon and their son, Tom, spent many deer seasons together at their hunting camp. Janice started deer hunting when she was 55 years old. She never missed a deer, bagging eleven deer with eleven shots. Gordon and Tom were very proud, and somewhat envious of Janice’s remarkable hunting skills.
Janice had a passion for gardening and spent many hours cultivating her flowers and vegetables. She always shared her abundant harvest with family and friends and regularly brought numerous vases of flowers to local nursing homes. Her expertise in the area came to the attention of the Marquette Monthly, which ran a cover story highlighting her gardening endeavors.
Janice was always open to new experiences and adventures, and adapted to any environment. She loved to travel and enjoyed trips to England, Scotland, Wales and the Northwest Territories with her son, Steve. When daughter Cindy moved to Savannah, GA, Janice was a frequent visitor and continued to love traveling until she needed nursing home care. She took numerous four generation road trips with Cindy, her grandson, Jeremy, and great-granddaughter, Theresa, after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Her favorite was a trip to Kentucky to visit her grandson, Matt and his family.
Family and friends will remember Janice as a unique woman of warmth, strength and intelligence, who embraced life with enthusiasm. As an optimist, she found something positive in almost any situation. In her final years many of her visitors were pleased to know that in Janice’s eyes they were “Just perfect.” She will be missed!
Janice is survived by her children, Steven Gill, Cynthia Butler and Thomas (Nancy) Gill; six grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Byron and Esther (Jacobson) Coles; husband, Gordon Gill; and brother, William Coles.
Per Janice’s request, no formal services will be held.
Donations in Janice’s memory may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, Peter White Public Library in Marquette and the Eastwood Nursing Center in Negaunee, where she received excellent and loving care during her final years.
Canale-Tonella Funeral Home and Cremation Services is assisting Janice’s family, where memories and condolences may be shared at canalefuneral.com.