Jan Dinsmore, 75, of Wayne, died Sunday, May 26, 2019 at her home in Wayne, following a protracted illness.
A Celebration of Life service will be held Saturday, June 8 at 11 a.m. at Our Savior Lutheran Church in Wayne. The Rev. Jeanne Madsen will officiate. Memorial visitation will be held Friday, June 7 from 5 to 7 p.m. with family present.
Memorials may be directed to the Mayo Clinic, https://philanthropy.mayoclinic.org/donatemc, for cancer research.
Arrangements are with Hasemann Funeral Home in Wayne.
Janice Sue Davis Dinsmore was born Sept. 1, 1943 in Caribou, Maine, but considered New Sweden, Maine, home. She was the youngest of four children born to Henry and Ida Davis. After graduation from Caribou High School in 1961, Jan earned a bachelor of science degree from the University of Maine at Orono in History and Biology Education in 1965. She began her education career as a World History teacher at Limestone High School in Limestone, Maine. On March 5, 1968 Jan married Steven C. Dinsmore in a civil ceremony in Basel, Switzerland. They had a second military-style wedding ceremony March 9, 1968 on Wiesbaden Air Force Base in Germany. Jan taught for the US Department of Defense at Wiesbaden from 1968-1972, while Steve completed his military service and his master’s degree.
The couple returned to the states in 1972 and settled in Muncie, Ind., where Steve completed his doctorate in Counseling Psychology at Ball State University. Steven C. Dinsmore II was born in 1973. Jan completed the major part of a master’s degree in Counseling at Ball State during that time. In Muncie, the family developed life-long friendships with five other families, all of them spending their summers together exploring the US. After Steve graduated, the family took up residence in Wayne, where the couples’ careers began among the distinguished faculty at Wayne State College.
Known to family, friends, and colleagues as Jan, she earned an MAE in History; and she completed requirements for an MSE in Counseling, both degrees conferred by Wayne State College in 1981. Jan’s employment at WSC began in 1981, with adjunct teaching assignments. In 1987 Jan took the administrative position of Director of Extended Campus, now known as Continuing Education. During the years she served as director, Jan developed WSC Extended Campus services from a budding program idea to a comprehensive regional program, offering a wide array of classes and programs. Following her tenure as Director of Extended Campus, which was completed in 1996, Jan was offered a contract in perpetuity to teach in the department of her choice for the coming semester, and the semesters to follow. Over her career years at WSC, Jan taught in the Schools of Social Sciences, Business, and Education. Her teaching focused on the human capacity to learn from history and to create a better world for future generations. The world was her classroom, and the lessons she learned throughout her travels made their way into her syllabi each semester. She advised many WSC students majoring in Education, both on campus and via Skype and/or phone across the state and throughout the region for many years before retiring from WSC in December of 2017.
Jan taught students the importance of the lessons learned from the Holocaust. She was an invited guest to receive an insider’s look at the Holy Land and brought her passion for teaching tolerance to the classroom. She organized several Holocaust survivors’ visits to the WSC campus during those years. Jan’s students continue to teach her message of tolerance world-wide. Jan will be remembered among her colleagues and friends at WSC and in the Wayne community for her strong educator voice in support of the diverse richness that exists within the human experience.
The daughter of a potato farmer, Jan never lost her love for Maine. She returned many times to her roots in Aroostook County to visit family and friends. She also enjoyed spending summers in New Harbor, Maine, sharing a cottage they named ‘MelMarJan’ with her sisters. Jan had a passion for travel. She lived in Rodenbach, Germany for 10 years with her husband and her son, Steven. They traveled over many parts of Europe together from their home base in Germany. She visited Stonehenge in England multiple times when people could still walk amongst the stones (all visitors are kept away by a fence today). Over the years she traveled the world, from Patagonia and the Arctic Circle to Nepal and Tibet and most places in between, with family, friends, and co-workers. Jan’s knowledge of history made her a natural tour guide for her travel companions. Every trip was an educational adventure. Her zest for travel is a gift she freely gave others. They in turn have shared the travel bug with more folks. Her gift is a legacy that will keep on giving with every trip that her family, her students, her friends, or their descendants make.
Never complacent, Jan was an advocate for others. Often, she was a voice for those whose voices were silenced or unheard. An example of that advocacy was her participation in the 2017 Women’s March in Washington, D.C. Now, free from pain, Jan walks unfettered amongst the stones, and her spirit soars amongst the stars.
Survivors include her husband, Steve Dinsmore of Wayne; her son, Steven Dinsmore II of Lincoln; sisters, Melba (Elden Churchill; in recent years, Paul Light) of Brooksville, Fla. and Mary Lou Zavon of Sacramento, Calif., her brother, Joseph Davis (Joy Taylor) of Sanbornville, N.H.; numerous nieces and nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews, as well as close friends.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Ida (Wardwell) and Henry Davis of New Sweden, Maine.