Janice Shirshac, 79, of Columbia, beloved wife of Ken Shirshac and daughter of Clara and Philip Bonafine, passed away on January 25, 2020. Born in Willimantic, Janice lived her entire adult life in Columbia, where she and Ken raised four children. Her family includes son Greg (m. Cindy) of Scotland, CT and their children (Reuben, Shane and Chelsea); son Scott (m. Jean-Marie) and their children (Spencer, Mikaila and Marissa) of Hampton, CT; daughter Roxanne (m. Michael Fuhrman) and their children (Misha, Cezanne and Indigo) of Tolland, CT; and daughter Terri (m. Mike Tobin) and their children (Jude and Riley) of Houston, TX. Two great-granddaughters, Peyton and Reagan, complete the picture.
Born in 1940, she spent her formative teenage years as a faithful Elvis fan and was a 1959 graduate of Windham High School. After graduation, she worked as a secretary for Gaucher and Gaucher law office. She married Ken (who Janice said looked like Elvis) in 1960, started their family the following year, and moved to their forever home in Columbia several years later. Motherhood was always a dream of Janice’s, and she dedicated herself wholly to it. She returned to work after her youngest entered school, and she spent many happy years working and laughing in the cafeteria at Horace W. Porter school. Later in life, Janice became a department manager at Merritt Imaging, a microfilm company in Vernon.
Janice was known for her profusion of baked goods and mock lasagna, and her fleece blankets and beautiful crocheted afghans rest on the bed or couch of each child, grandchild and beloved friend. She made 16 annual trips to Deltona, FL to spend time with her parents, eventually becoming her mother’s caregiver for many years. Janice loved music, especially enjoying her son Scott’s live band shows all over CT. Always on the move, she ended up traveling to many states to visit children and newly arrived grandbabies. As her family grew and spread out, Janice worked to keep everyone connected, supporting the family through phone calls, cards, texts, Skype chats, and an inordinate number of heavily-taped holiday packages. Janice cherished her time with lifelong friends Nancy Smith and Sherrill Conterno, and dearest cousin Pam St. John, exploring the nooks and crannies of CT, looking for a good lunch, good craft fairs, and good laughs. She lived the life she wanted, as wife, mother, grandmother, and great grandmother, putting others at the center of her world.
There are no calling hours. Janice’s Funeral Mass will be held on Thursday, January 30, 2020 at 11:30am at St. Joseph Church, 99 Jackson St., Willimantic, burial to follow at St. Joseph Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Janice’s honor (800)805-5856, www.stjude.org, or 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105). For an online memorial guestbook please visit www.potterfuneralhome.com.