Janice Irene Reardon Hart passed away peacefully at Buffalo Hill Terrace on May 24, 2019. She and her husband, Neil, had been residents of Buffalo Hill Terrace since August 2013. Both Janice and Neil died of congestive heart failure, with Neil proceeding her in death by 11 days.
Janice was born in Bozeman on June 18, 1934 to Tim and Nanabel Reardon. Her mother’s descendants settled in Salesville in 1894. To avoid the potato famine, her father’s descendants sailed from Ireland on the S.S. Nova Schosia in 1880 and moved to Laurel in 1895. As an only child, Janice grew up in a Bozeman home on North Tracy where her father was a fireman and her mother cooked for boarders. A fun day for Janice meant sliding down the fireman’s pole at the Bozeman fire station, helping her mother in the vegetable garden and playing softball or kick-the-can with friends. Many fond childhood memories were formed while spending summers at the family log cabin up the Gallatin canyon.
In March of 1944, Janice took sick with scarlet fever and then was diagnosed with rheumatic fever. As a result, the spirited fourth-grader was confined to her bed for over four months. Boredom was kept at bay by listening to the radio and tracking world events on a large map hung next to her bed. Her heart was left fragile because of these childhood diseases. Janice’s family always felt that she lived beyond her heart’s capability because of her feisty Irish determination.
If her meticulous scrap books are any indication, her adolescent life was full of adventure with school friends. As a student at Gallatin County High School, she lettered all four years playing the flute in the school band, was active in Pep Club, participated in Future Homemakers of America, was inducted into National Honor Society and joined the Order of the Rainbow for Girls in 1948. A rite of passage was bestowed in 1950 when she got her driver education certificate. Janice graduated with 118 seniors in the class of 1952 with merit honors in home economics and library.
Janice met her future husband, Neil, on July 22, 1949 when a group of friends went to the Bozeman Roundup rodeo, carnival and dance. Janice and Neil became quite accomplished waltz partners. In 1949 they won first prize in waltz contests at the Rainbow Harvest Ball and DeMolay Sock Hop. Right after Janice graduated from high school, they were married on June 17, 1952 in Bozeman. Janice and Neil celebrated their 66th wedding anniversary in June 2018. They had two daughters, Callie (Hart) Langohr and Carrie (Hart) Bautzmann.
During her junior and senior years in high school, Janice worked at Phillip’s Book Store on Bozeman’s Main Street. This experience ignited her passion for books. She also had a positive work experience at a Laurel asparagus farm owned by relatives. After her oldest daughter was born, Janice worked a couple years on the conveyor belt sorting peas at the Bozeman cannery. Because of this experience, green peas rarely appeared at the family dinner table.
After initially settling in South Dakota, Neil and Janice moved to Kalispell in the fall of 1957. They lived comfortably for 56 years in a home located next to Buffalo Hill Cameron golf green No. 3. Janice took great delight helping Neil grow dahlias and then finding different methods of drying dahlias. Many of her dried dahlia arrangements received awards at dahlia shows and local county fairs.
Starting in 1962, Janice worked for 11 years at Flathead High School as a library assistant. She began her career at Flathead Valley Community College in January 1977 as a switchboard operator and went on to become program assistant for the college’s adult basic education department. When Janice retired in 1994, she was honored with the Eagle Award for outstanding contributions to the college. She also received the ASPIRE Regional Retiree honor.
For many years, Janice and Neil helped with the annual Flathead cherry crop processed at the north Main Street warehouse. Later, they would spend a few winter months every year living in a Maui condo. Janice loved going to the beach to watch whales, collecting sea shells and exploring the local Hawaiian markets for the next great pastry or craft.
Her husband, Neil, captained the DeSmet tour boat on Lake McDonald for over 17 summers. A lifetime friendship was formed with Marv and Beth Twamley during those idyllic Glacier summers. Janice and her daughters were grateful they hiked hundreds of miles in the park and never encountered a bear! Once the huckleberries were ripe, they grabbed purple stained tin pails and headed to the nearest patch. Janice had a knack for turning sour huckleberries into sweet cobblers. Janice and Neil were also avid collectors of vintage pictures and postcards of Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks.
Janice was known for her artistic abilities in a wide variety of crafts. Those crafts included macramé in the 70s, pottery, dahlias, jewelry-making and knitting. In 1966, one of her afghans won a blue ribbon at the fair and was entered in a national wool needlework competition. Janice and her daughter Callie took up basket weaving in the 80s and spent many enjoyable years together weaving baskets. Janice’s craft room in the basement of their home was legendary. She was a longtime supporter of the Prayer Shawl Ministry and knit over 70 shawls to help those needing comfort.
Over her lifetime, Janice was active in many civic organizations. When their daughters were young, she was a Girl Scout leader and Hedges P.T.A. membership chairperson. She served as treasurer for the Hockaday Art Center Board of Directors and president of the Kalispell Art Show Board of Directors. Janice was the Montana regional representative for the American Association of Women in Junior Colleges and the Secretary for the nationally ranked Timberette Girl’s Track Club. She also enjoyed Red Hat Society meetings with special friends. Janice and Neil were active members of the Kalispell Dahlia Society for many years. After the 2007 opening of Glacier High School, they became enthusiastic supporters of Wolfpack sports, theatre and music. They certainly were proud to wear the blue and green!
Janice is survived by daughter Callie (Mike) Langohr and daughter Carrie (Pete) Bautzmann, both of Kalispell. Granddaughters Erin (Brandt) Bogdonovich in Seattle and Kristen Bautzmann in San Francisco. Her great-grandson is Declan Bogdonovich. She is also survived by numerous cousins. Janice was preceded in death by her loving husband Neil (May 13, 2019), parents Tim (1965) and Nanabel (1986) Reardon and maternal grandparents William (1941) and Mary (1937) Mickleberry. Her paternal grandparents were Timothy (1948) and Jane (1935) Reardon.
A reception celebrating Janice and Neil’s joyful lives will be held on Saturday, July 27. The remembrance will start at 2 p.m. in the Kalispell Buffalo Hill Terrace auditorium. Janice’s ashes will be interred with her husband’s in the family columbarium in Bozeman.
Memorial donations in Janice’s honor can be made to The Foundation at Flathead Valley Community College (777 Grandview Drive), Immanuel Foundation at Buffalo Hill Terrace (40 Claremont St.) or to a charity of your choice. Please send cards of condolence to 130 Crestline Ave., Kalispell, MT 59901. Johnson-Gloschat Funeral Home and Crematory of Kalispell is caring for the family.