MARQUETTE, MI – Janice Cawthorne Coles Gill, 94, was born July 1, 1928 and died September 28, 2022 at Eastwood Nursing Center in Negaunee, MI after a long journey with Alzheimer’s disease.
Janice met her husband, Gordon, while pursuing a music degree at Northern Michigan University. After graduation, 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 s moved to Marquette in 1957.
Janice spent many years teaching piano and passed on her love of music to her daughter, Cindy, who also became a music teacher. Janice and Cindy enjoyed playing piano duets every night for several years after Janice was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
Janice also loved swimming. She spent a lot of time at the family camp at Island Lake and could be found swimming whenever the air temperature was 50 degrees or higher. Janice was able to swim around the lake twice and then back and forth on the island without stopping, a record that no one in the family could beat.
After retirement, Janice, Gordon and their son, Tom, spent many hunting seasons together at their hunt camp. Janice started deer hunting at the age of 55. 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 growing her flowers and vegetables. She always shared her bountiful harvest with family and friends and regularly brought many vases of flowers to local nursing homes. Her expertise in the field caught the attention of Marquette Monthly, which ran a cover story highlighting her gardening efforts.
Janice was always open to new experiences and adventures, and adapted to any environment. She loved to travel and took trips to England, Scotland, Wales and the Northwest Territories with her son, Steve. When her daughter Cindy moved to Savannah, Georgia, Janice was a frequent visitor and continued to enjoy traveling until she needed nursing care. She has taken many trips over four generations with Cindy, her grandson, Jeremy, and her great-granddaughter, Theresa, after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Her favorite was a trip to Kentucky to visit her grandson, Matt, and his family.
Family and friends will remember Janice as a unique, warm, strong and intelligent woman who embraced life with enthusiasm. As an optimist, she found something positive in almost every situation. In her later years, many of her visitors were delighted 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 predeceased by her parents, Byron and Esther (Jacobson) Coles; husband, Gordon Gill; and his brother, William Coles.
At Janice’s request, no formal service will be held.
Donations in Janice’s memory may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, the 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 assists Janice’s family, where memories and condolences can be shared at canalefuneral.com.