Jane Kasmersky ’70 Greller

Jane Kasmersky Greller, affectionately known as “Janeo” by many who knew her, died at her home, the aptly named, “Last Resort”, in Newberg, Oregon, on October 17, 2020. Jane was born to Chester and Mary Kasmersky on December 1, 1948, in Columbus, Ohio. Along with her three sisters and one brother, she was raised as a Buckeye in Franklin County, Ohio until attending Hope College (Holland, MI), graduating in 1970. During that time she fell in love with a friend of the family, a handsome bear of a man, who would not only eventually woo her to becoming a Wolverine, but who would also become “the only man I ever loved” as she described him.

Jane married John “Bear” Greller on August 16, 1969, and for nearly 50 years she and John were known as “Janeo and Bear”. Theirs was a love story for the ages. A marriage built upon a mutually shared, rock solid faith in Jesus Christ, which deeply informed and directed their values, relationships, and decision making. Janeo was the embodiment of the woman of Proverbs 31—a biblical passage from the Old Testament that Bear would joyfully and tearfully read aloud to her and their four children each Mother’s Day around the kitchen table.

In the early years of their marriage, Janeo and Bear lived in Oberlin, OH, Haines, AK, Columbus, WI, and Grand Haven, MI. Utilizing her Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education, she taught elementary school in Michigan, Ohio, and Alaska. She retired from her teaching career in the 1970’s to become a full-time stay-at-home mother—a role in which she found much meaning and purpose, and one in which Bear unequivocally and frequently affirmed as noble, critical, and the most important job.

After spending the majority of their child-rearing years in Grand Haven, MI, she and Bear moved the family to Orange City, IA, which was their home for eighteen years. Their hearts and lives were deeply embedded in the rich fabric of rural, Midwestern life—particularly that of their small, tight knit Dutch community in NW Iowa.

When she was not working with Northwestern College theater students in the costume design shop, she was often inviting others into their home and extending hospitality with much warmth and compassion.

They would retire to the Pacific Northwest in 2010 to be close to their children and grandchildren, but their hearts would always remain in the Midwest.

Janeo’s passions and interests were endless and her love was unconditional. “Strength and dignity were her clothing.” Throughout the years, her strong principles and tireless doggedness would routinely place her in positions of advocacy within the institutions of the school board, city council, church, hospice, and the medical community. Through these experiences she emphasized that “actions speak louder than words”, which ultimately compelled her strong values of honesty, integrity, and communication into action.

Janeo is survived by her children—Tom (Tabitha) Greller, and their sons, Ray and Luke; Brian Greller; Michael (Ellie) Greller and their children, Barrett and Greta; Katie (Ben) Lacey and “The Lovelies”— Eva, Vivian, Daphne, and Bianca. Jane is also survived by her brother, “Jake E. Babes” John (Heather) Kasmersky, one sister, and nieces and nephews.  She was especially close with her niece, Julie Ann (Jon) Daggerhart and their children, Matthew, Rebecca, Ellery, and Henry.

She is also survived by a voluminous collection of her eponymous, heart-felt family scrapbooks, as well as hundreds of handwritten love letters exchanged between her and Bear during their courtship.

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