MAHOMET – Janis Johansen-Wood passed away Saturday (Jan. 5, 2013) at 8:55 p.m. at Carle Hospital in Urbana.
Visitation will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 11, 2013, at Renner-Wikoff Chapel and Crematory, Urbana.
Janis was born Janis Kirsten Johansen on Sept. 15, 1938, in McPherson, Kan., the daughter of Bernice Dresher Johansen and Christian Johansen, an immigrant who traveled from Denmark to the U.S. in 1927. She lived in McPherson briefly before the family moved to Decatur and then to Urbana. She attended Urbana schools and graduated as class valedictorian from Urbana High School in 1956.
After studying vocal music at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Janis traveled to Denmark to attend a Danish school where she learned to speak fluent Danish, an ability she sustained throughout her life.
After traveling in Europe, she returned to the U.S. in 1960, and in 1965 married Thomas Knecht in Urbana. In the 1960s and 1970s, she worked at the University of Illinois in Student Services and later at the Survey Research Laboratory. In 1981, she married Larry Wood in Champaign and worked for The Andersons Inc. in Champaign.
Janis is survived by her husband, Larry; daughters, Ketty (Bill) DuVall, Kaja Schriefer (Gary Stern), Kirsten Knecht, Ilse Knecht (Anthony Makes) and Chelsea (Paul) Guder; and a son, Christopher (Hannah) Wood. She is also survived by four grandchildren, Kailee DuVall, Nikolas Schriefer, Hannah Schriefer and Johnny Makes; a sister, Sigrid (Arnie) Aeschleman; and two brothers, Lansing Johansen (Fusako Butler) and Sten Johansen. She will be missed by many loving pets and grandpets - Honey, Milo, Shady, Lulu, Desi, Oliver, Lola and Stormy.
She was preceded in death by her parents; sister, Kristi Johansen; and aunt, Doris Dresher.
Throughout her life, Janis was like a second mother to many teenagers and young adults, ensuring that they always had a place to stay, a meal to eat, and a family with whom to celebrate holidays. She was an avid reader, a music lover, a dog show enthusiast and a creative person who loved to work on anything artistic, from designing log homes to sewing costumes and helping with her children's art projects. She was always proud of her Danish heritage and was known for her delicious Danish cookies and holiday meals.
She will be greatly missed by her family and friends.
Memorial contributions may be made in her honor to the Champaign County Humane Society and to the Mahomet Public Library. Condolences may be offered at www.renner-wikoffchapel.com .