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Dr. Janet Yanos

February 2, 1948 October 7, 2014
Dr. Janet Yanos
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Obituary for Dr. Janet Yanos

Dr. Janet Hagan Yanos was the Social Worker's Social Worker. Dedicated to not only helping others, but also to the art of teaching people how to help others, her life was steeped in the service and care of those who needed it. Born into a traditional Irish Catholic family in the close-knit community of Kamm's Corners in Cleveland, Jan developed a love for idealism and a much-ballyhooed distaste of lima beans. With her sisters Nancy and Claire, and her late brother Robert, Janet grew up under the watchful eye of Our Lady of Angels parish. Not without her mischievous streak, her outstanding academic achievements narrowly outshined stories of Saran-Wrapped toilets and plumbing adventures with Fizzies that highlighted her years as a student at St. Joseph Academy. Following a few months of lobbying in the early morning hours at the school cafeteria, Janet fell in love with George Yanos during an archaeological dig in Athens ... Athens, Ohio, that is. It was the summer after her freshman year at Ohio University, in 1966, when Janet helped George pass his class; and helped their professor unearth the oldest ear of corn ever discovered in the State of Ohio. At the age of 19, Janet married George on December 27, 1967. Following a one-night honeymoon in a "nice hotel" in Cleveland, the newlyweds hopped in an unreliable car given to them by Bob, and set out west. Heeding the advice of a hotel clerk in Matthiessen, Illinois, they bypassed the South Side of Chicago via Kedzie Avenue, and headed straight for the Ravenswood neighborhood the couple would call home for the next few years. Jan then set about cultivating the rest of her life as a loveable dotty professor in Oak Park, Illinois. She became mother to her only child, Nora, in 1977, and completed her Ph.D. in Social Work from the University of Illinois-Chicago. A longtime professor at Aurora University, Janet only made people call her "Doctor" on rare, special occasions. Instead, she fostered an environment of mentorship and love for those in her demanding profession, establishing and facilitating numerous support groups for social workers. Her dedication to helping others stretched into her personal life as well, often "adopting" creative and intelligent people she admired into her care. Many nights were spent with her friends exploring various cuisines at restaurants near and far. She loved to try new things, but also developed keen favorites - like longtime weekly dinners at New Rebozo with George and Nora. She also took her breakfasts very seriously. Her home was filled with her students, colleagues, clients, items from the local Farmers' Market, vegetables from her backyard garden, and other treasures from her life and travels. Her tastes in art and rugs were heavily influenced by frequent trips to the Southwest, as well as landmark journeys to Portugal and St. John in the Virgin Islands. She went white-water rafting in the Colorado River, and much later in her life, traveled with her grandchildren to Puerto Rico. Then there were the lesser known talents and passions: She loved the idea of cycling (as long as she didn't have to pedal); she raised a pair of turtles for 35 years (who came to an untimely demise after eating too much cat food); she reveled in the simple joy of going to the grocery store, and knew how to buy the perfect suit; she took many classes at the Oak Park Art League, loved bluegrass music, and played the mandolin. During her difficult final years, Janet was constantly surrounded by her family and friends. Many traveled in to see her, and she enjoyed frequent visits from her sisters. All the way through to the very end, husband George and daughter Nora never left her side. This cherished wife, loving mother, caring sister, doting nana, favorite auntie, and dedicated trainer of caregivers finally found peace the evening of October 7, 2014, following a long illness. She is preceded in death by her parents and her brother Robert (Mildred) Hagan. She is survived by her husband George, her daughter Nora (Scott) Bowker, and her grandchildren Luke, Ryan and Julia. She will be dearly missed by her sisters Nancy (Ray Miller) Hagan, and Claire (Phil De Marne) Hagan; as well as many cousins, nieces, and nephews. Her 66 years of life will be celebrated at noon on Saturday, October 11, at Dreschsler, Brown & Williams Funeral Home, 203 South Marion Street in Oak Park, Illinois. Friends and family may call this Friday, from 3 to 8 p.m.; and Saturday morning from 10 a.m. until the time of her Memory Service. The interment will be private. In lieu of flowers, donations to Hephzibah Children's Association ( are appreciated.


Saturday, October 11 12 noon

Drechsler, Brown & Williams Funeral Home


Friday, October 10 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, October 11 10 a.m. until 12 p.m.

Drechsler, Brown & Williams Funeral Home

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