Janet C. Lechner

Janet C. Lechner

April 6, 1959 – June 28, 2024

MEMORIAL SERVICE: Wednesday, July 3rd at 2pm at the West Center Chapel.  In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to Nebraska Humane Society.  To view a live broadcast of the Service, please visit www.heafeyheafey.com and click the “Live Cast” button at the top of the home page.

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Jan was born in the early hours of April 6, 1959, in Broken Bow Nebraska to Robert and Betty Reed.  She was their second daughter, preceded by her older sister Beth who was almost 5 years older. 15 year-old Sharon Stewart Franssen started as the babysitter when Jan was a few weeks old and remains a part of the family to this day. Janet brought a storm of energy to a heretofore quiet little household.

She was very busy, always keeping house in the playhouse with cousins Katy and Marilyn Mayo, gardening or sewing with her Grandma Reed or holding the cow’s tails while her Grandpa Woodward did the milking. She started playing the coronet, was an excellent brush girl at her mother’s beauty salon, and moved on to junior high where she met her first BFF, Cindy Olsen. If Cindy wasn’t at Jan’s house, Jan was at Cindy’s, spying on older siblings, trying out pilfered cigarettes from the beauty salon, and doing what young girls do.

When it was time for High School in 1974, Beth was in college and Bob and Betty moved to North Platte. Although unhappy about the big new school, Jan soon met the daughter of Bob’s boss, Leslie Aten and became fast friends. She worked at Cutty’s campground and later at Coca Cola bottling Co. Jan continued to sew and make anything she set her mind to. She loved her job and soon collected life skills that far exceeded the average for her age. She went to Omaha in 1978 where she and Beth had an apartment next to Beth’s med school friend, Mary Kay Bowen.

Jan attended UNO and tried to teach Beth the basics of adult living. Late in 1982 Jan and Beth bought a house and, always the creative and interior decorator at heart, Jan got to work wallpapering, painting, and making drapes.  She turned out to be quite literally and figuratively the girl next door. She fell in love with the next-door neighbor, Jim Lechner and they have been together for over 40 years. 

Her career in Omaha progressed and she was offered assistant to the head of Financial Dynamics and was given the job to figure out how to use the computer and do desktop publishing in its earliest stages in 1986. She quickly was the go-to gal in the office. She and Jim continued to date and were married on April 12, 1986.  Always the animal lover, Jim and Jan adopted the first of many well-loved dogs in 1987 and have since owned 6 dogs and several cats. 

In 1990, Jim changed jobs and they relocated to Hamburg, Iowa, where Jan and her father did most of the plumbing and wiring of the new home they built. Then in 1994, twin boys Reed and Jeff were born which added to her creative endeavors. Jan was a full time Mom using all her imagination and creativity to create worlds where Jeff, Reed, and her niece Olivia could grow, play and have a magical childhood. Halloween was an extraordinarily special day for costumes and fun.

Eventually her parents, Bob and Betty, joined them in Hamburg to be closer to the grandkids.  She met and made many fine friends in Hamburg, and they remain friends to this day.  Jeff was given tutelage of her fine culinary skills throughout his formative years and continues the family  tradition of sharing food and creativity in the kitchen.  Reed is a creative of visual arts influenced by his mother’s love of Halloween and other costume holidays.  Her impact on them continues to this day. 

Bob passed away in 2011 and Betty was relocated to assisted living in Omaha in 2014. Jan and Jim followed her to Omaha and their new home in Tiburon.  Betty passed away in 2018.  Also in 2018, Jan was diagnosed with early triple negative breast cancer and after multiple treatments, was pronounced cancer free in late 2019.

In October of 2023 she was diagnosed with the endometrial cancer which eventually claimed her life.  She passed away on June 28, 2024, at the age of 65.  She will always be remembered as a great wife and mother, a true creative and the anchor of the family. 

She will be greatly missed by all who knew her. She is survived by her husband Jim, sons, Jeff and Reed and sister Beth, brother-in-law Ellis and niece Olivia, as well as many other friends and relatives. Janet leaves a legacy of fun, and love showered on all around her. She had an unrelenting creative drive coupled with an exceptional intellect that was wrapped in humility and unsurpassed kindness. The great void she leaves in our lives is only matched by the love and esteem we hold for her in our hearts.

 

10 Comments

  • Ann Ver Linden Posted June 30, 2024 6:05 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss. Janet was a fun, and kind classmate. Ann Sweenie

  • Tracey Johnson Posted June 30, 2024 8:28 pm

    Beth, so sorry for your loss. Sounds like she was quite a lady!! Sending prayers for you all!’

  • Leslie Feldman Posted June 30, 2024 9:12 pm

    I am truly shocked and saddened to hear of Janet’s passing. She was such a joyful, loving, kind, and caring person – and so much fun to be with! Her sense of humor, creativity, and kindness were her super-powers, and I will remember her forever for those. She was special – one of the best of us. It’s very hard to conceive of a world without her in it.
    My sincere condolences for the loss of such a truly wonderful wife, mother, sister, friend, and in my case cousin. She is certain to live on in the hearts of all those who love her – she will certainly live on in mine.

    With love and heartfelt sympathy,
    Leslie

  • Elizabeth Johnson Posted July 1, 2024 3:18 am

    Death leaves a heartache that no one can heal, Love leaves a memory that no one can steal. May you find comfort in your memories. Our deepest condolences.

  • Shane Hatmaker Posted July 1, 2024 7:18 am

    Our condolences from Michelle & I. You and the family will be in our prayers.

    -Shane

  • Ken Sizemore Posted July 1, 2024 8:03 am

    Thinking of your family during your time of loss, of what sounds like an amazing person. As challenging as this time is, I’m sure you are grateful to have the time you did. Wishing you the strength you reach for and the peace you hope for. Warmest wishes to your entire family.

  • A T Woodward Posted July 1, 2024 9:11 am

    My Condolences to Jim, Jeff, Reed and Beth. I always thought she reminded me a lot of Bob, Pretty quiet but always nice.

  • Debb Clayi Dady Posted July 2, 2024 7:07 am

    Thinking of you Beth🩷 Prayers to all

  • Sarah Norwood Posted July 2, 2024 2:12 pm

    I wish I knew you better. Our times together were always as lovely as you. You were an amazing mother, wife and aunt. You were always so kind to myself and my mother and brothers. We will treasure the times we had. I’m sad for uncle Jim and Reed and Jeff. My heart breaks for them.

    You were a truly wonderful woman and will be missed so much. Thank you for being the kindest woman I’ve ever known.

    Rest beautifully Aunt Jan.

  • Leslie (Aten) Hord Posted July 10, 2024 8:49 pm

    I am deeply saddened at the loss of my closest high school friend, Janet. She was the sweetest, most talented and creative person I ever met…and a great sidekick. She will be deeply missed 💕

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