1920-2012

Janice Van Dyke, 92, of Carroll and formerly of Clear Lake and Des Moines, died Wednesday, May 16, 2012, at St. Anthony Regional Hospital in Carroll.

Funeral services will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 19, at First United Methodist Church in Carroll.  Officiating will be Pastor Dennis Bailey.  Organist will be Ellen Severin.  Soloist will be Skip Raridon. Casket bearers will be Janice’s grandchildren  Matthew Van Dyke, Anthony Van Dyke, R.J. Van Dyke, Christopher Van Dyke, Thomas Van Dyke and Katie Van Dyke.

Friends may call at Sharp Funeral Home in Carroll after 5 p.m. Friday. There will be a prayer service at 7 p.m.  The casket will be moved to the church where visitation will resume at 1 p.m. Saturday.

There will be a memorial service at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, May 20, at St. Mary of Nazareth Parish Hall, 4600 Meredith Drive, Des Moines, Iowa 50310.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be left at the funeral home or the church for St. Anthony Pastoral Care Foundation or scholarships for students interested in language arts.  Memorials may also be mailed to Sharp Funeral Home, 226 W. 8th St. Carroll, Iowa 51401 with a designation of either organization in Janice’s name.

Online condolences may be left for Janice’s family at www.sharpfuneral.com.

Janice Carolyn Shuler Van Dyke was born April 27, 1920, in Fremont, Neb.. Her paternal great-grandfather had migrated from Alsace-Lorraine, reportedly to escape being drafted into the Kaiser’s army. Her maternal grandparents had lived for a while in a sod house. Harry Adelbert Shuler, Janice’s father, was a railroad telegrapher. During the Depression years, he was moved from town to town as economic pressures led to the closing of depots. Her mother, Lillian Amelia Hall, cooked for boarders during the Depression, earning extra income that went in part toward music lessons for her daughter.  Janice excelled in piano and cello, starred in the school operetta, and was elected to the National Honor Society. After graduating from Norfolk High School, she went on a scholarship to Hastings College, where she majored in speech. In her freshman year she joined the debate squad, perhaps because she was impressed by the star debater—a tall fellow named Russell Van Dyke. They were engaged the same month as the attack on Pearl Harbor and married on June 28, 1942.

After graduating magna cum laude, Janice taught high school speech and English until her marriage (married women were not eligible for teaching positions). She did secretarial work as Russ took a series of broadcasting positions in South Dakota and then Iowa. In 1945, he began work at radio station KRNT in Des Moines, while Janice worked as a secretary at the Register and Tribune until the birth of their first child in 1947. Another child followed in 1949 and a third in 1954. During those years, she worked extensively with women’s organizations, including PEO (which she served as president) and the United Christian Women.

Janice returned to teaching in 1963 at Valley High School, initially as a volunteer coach for the new debate team that her daughter had joined. She taught part time — three classes, speech and debate — for four years and then was hired full time in 1967. During her two decades at Valley, Janice taught not only established English classes but three highly successful courses of her own invention: Individualized Reading, General Semantics, and Writing Improvement. Perhaps her most notable venture was directing a pantomime group organized by some of her students. The “Baker’s Dozen” became, and remains, one of the most successful and popular activities at the school.

After their retirements in 1982 and 1983, Janice and Russ relocated to Clear Lake, Iowa, where the family had vacationed since the early 1950s. Soon they began to spend several months each winter in a mobile home in Mesa, Ariz. Janice was an active retiree, serving as actor and director and head librarian at the Good Life Resort in Mesa and tutoring English-language learners in northern Iowa. Her last decades brought the death of her beloved Russ but also the joy of spending time with six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Of all her achievements, she probably took the most pride in the growing family she had helped to raise.

Following a serious fall in 2006, Janice moved to Carroll,  the home of son James and his family. She enjoyed excellent care and many friendships first at Swan House and then at SunnyBrook. A longtime member of Grace Methodist Church in Des Moines, she was sustained throughout her life by her faith. She will be remembered as a gifted and committed teacher and the most cherished and loving of mothers.

She is survived by her daughter Carolynn and her partner Ann Carter of Bethlehem, Pa.; sons James Van Dyke and his wife Susan of Carroll, and Robert Van Dyke and his wife Mary Ann of Des Moines; grandsons Matt and wife Amy, Tony, R.J. and wife Tessa, Christopher, and Thomas; granddaughter Katie; and great-granddaughters, Addison, Emma, and Avery.  

Janice was preceded in death by her brothers Chester and Robert Shuler and in 1992, by her husband of fifty years, Russ Van Dyke.