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MANSFIELD — Janis L. (Gilbert) Sober of Mansfield, lover of literature, news, travel, movies, humor, wordplay, old-time music, crosswords, Classics by Request and the natural world, died peacefully at home in the early hours of Monday, June 8, 2020. Her calm presence and wry wit will be greatly missed.

Janis was born at Kirby Hospital in Monticello in 1946. She credited her mother, Helen (Farthing) Gilbert, a registered nurse at Kirby, with saving her life two times following childhood accidents and once as an adult. Janis beneftted from access to the expertise of many in our local medical community more recently.

She grew up in Galesville and was a graduate of Mansfield Community High School, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Northern Illinois University.

Janis served the Illinois education system as an English teacher for one year at DeLand-Weldon and at Rochelle High School for 20 years. She then joined the English faculty at Kishwaukee Community College for 10 years before moving back to central Illinois and teaching part time at Parkland College.

She nurtured her curiosity about the world through extensive travel, including working for an international courier service and training dolphins in Hawaii as a volunteer with Earthwatch Expeditions.

She was predeceased by her parents, Helen and Nick Gilbert of Mansfield, and her niece, Beth Stevens of Charleston.

Janis is survived by Meg Miner of Mansfield, her partner of 21 years, and Peter Sober of DeKalb, her husband of 48 years. Also surviving are her sister, Jane Biggs of Casey; brother, Stephen Gilbert (Shirley Dammerman) of Mahomet; nephew, Brian Biggs (Debbie); great-niece and great-nephew, Nicole Sharp (Josh) and Devon Stevens (Anna); and the five thriving, active children of these extended family members.

Janis also has an extensive collection of devoted friends, including Diane Terando, whose friendship began in first grade. Her adored pets Moxie, Sam and a more recent rescue, Ed, join all of us in being perplexed by her absence.

Donations in Janis’ memory may be made to the Piatt County Animal Shelter (306 N. Buchanan St., Monticello, IL 61856) or any animal rescue organization.