Janice Rae Tjebben Durnil joined her Lord on March 26, 2021 at age 67. She was born September 24, 1953 in northwest Iowa to Bertram and Ruth Tjebben. Her parents separated in 1955 and divorced in 1956.
In June 1963 her mother, Ruth, married Wayne Flesner of Deerwood, MN. Jan was the only fifth grader, then only sixth grader attending the one-room country schoolhouse. She enjoyed having a live-in father figure active in her life.
She graduated in 1971 from Brainerd (MN) High School as an Honor Graduate with Distinction, placing 6th out of a class of 411 students.
She entered the University of Minnesota’s Institute of Technology (U of MN IT). She was the freshman representative to IT’s student governing board serving as its treasurer and publicity chair. She started the Society of Women Engineers chapter at U of MN IT. She graduated in 1975 as a chemical engineer.
After graduation, she moved to the state of Washington to work as a chemical engineer for the Hanford Nuclear Reservation where she had interned a summer during college.
On January 17, 1977 she married Jerome Durnil in Richland, Washington. Jerry was also a chemical engineer at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.
Janie decided to switch careers and in 1983 graduated from the University of Washington, Seattle, with a Master’s in Business Administration. She chose self-employment and worked as a small business development analyst and as an enrolled agent doing individual and small business taxes.
One of Jan’s dreams was to have horses. She and Jerry purchased a small ranch where they had horses, cows/heifers, a bull, lots of cats and a couple of dogs. She loved animals.
Jan and Jerry were foster parents to several children. Some of these children, now adults, have been adopted by Jan and Jerry and continue to be an active part of their lives. Jan felt blessed to have children and now grandchildren.
Janice had diabetes since her 20’s. She had open heart valve surgery in 2014, and several leg surgeries to open up arteries in her legs. She easily developed infections that took a long time to heal. Most recently, she’s had a very bad infection, kidney disease leading to possible dialysis, out of control high blood sugar levels, heart failure, and she had trouble being able to rest and sleep adding to her mental and body’s stress. She went into the hospital on Wednesday and died at 8 a.m. (pacific time) on Friday with sons Zech and Mario with her.
Janie was a joyful person who found humor and laughed easily. She had a way about her that could lift your spirits. Her older sister, Pat, shared that Jan “was someone you could talk to for a very long time.”
She is survived by her husband, Jerome, sisters Teresa (Harry) Wernecke and Doris (David) Polson, brother Kim Tjebben, brother-in-law Bob Hadler. Children are Zech Hawley (significant other, Heather), Stephanie Kelley (Husband Beau), Evodio Reyes Jr, Mario Mata (significant other Christine) and Angella Summers. Grandchildren are Zedekian Hawley, Austin and Lilianna Anderson, Kourtnee and Kaysen Hines, Faith and Naja Summers. Nephews are Todd (Karla) Hadler, Craig (Amy) Hadler, and Kurt (Clarissa) Hadler. Nieces are Lisa (George) Bennett and Stephanie Oberg. Plus she has several grand nieces and grand nephews.
She is pre-deceased by her parents, bonus father Wayne Flesner, sisters Pat Hadler and Mary Oberg.
Memorial Service will be held on Tuesday May 11, 2021 at 4:00 PM at Rainier Memorial Center.