FUNERAL SERVICES: 11:00 am on Friday, October 29, 2010 at St. Peter The Apostle Catholic Church in Park Rapids, MN.
VISITATION: 5:00 - 7:00 pm on Thursday, October 28, 2010 at Jones-Pearson Funeral Home in Park Rapids, MN.
INTERMENT: Lakeview Cemetery in Nevis, MN.
SURVIVORS: Her 4 daughters: Lisa (Doug) Stichert of Pleasant Prairie, WI; Jill (Michael) Niedziela of Bolingbrook, IL; Heidi (Dennis) Massie, of Park Rapids, MN and Paula Haynes of Boston, MA; 2 sons: Peter (Sara Roy) Schmutzer of Grand Forks, ND and Timothy (Jodi Hodgson) Schmutzer of Pine City, MN; 7 grandchildren: Paul Massie, Celine and Rebecca Stichert, Elizabeth and Katherine Niedziela, and Gabriel and Annika Schmutzer.
JANET LEAH SCHMUTZER
March 10, 1943 – October 23, 2010
Janet Leah Schmutzer, age 67, of Park Rapids, MN, formerly of Elk Grove Village and Barrington, Illinois, died Saturday, October 23, 2010, after a long and courageous battle with multiple chronic illnesses.
Janet was born on March 10, 1943, in Chicago, Illinois, to Joseph and Helen DeCeault. She was raised in the Stony Island neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side and it was there that she attended Catholic schools, graduating from Loretto High School in 1961. She was married to Ronald Paul Schmutzer, MD, on August 17, 1963, at the Ascension Church in River Forest, IL. This union was blessed with 7 children: Lisa, Jill, Christopher, Heidi, Peter, Timothy, and Paula. Janet attended Loyola University in Chicago and was a scholar of English and Literature. She was instrumental in helping her husband establish and run a 15,000 active patient family medical practice in Elk Grove Village, Illinois, where she was also involved in numerous civic activities. She served as President of the PTA and was a pre-school teacher in the Project 444 Program, which she was instrumental in creating. She also was involved in the theater, as an actor, drama coach, and director. In 1984, Janet and her family moved to the Park Rapids, MN, area where they built their dream home on Little Sand Lake. Janet devoted much of her life to helping the poor and the underserved and was an advocate for victims and survivors of sexual abuse and domestic violence. She was also an advocate of social justice issues throughout her life and was involved in social and political activism. She was a gifted and talented writer and poet, lover of the arts, and gourmet cook. While never forgetting her Chicago roots, she adopted the beautiful lakes and woods of Northern Minnesota as her spiritual home. She loved nothing more than to be surrounded by her family and felt energized by their stories, humor, and laughter. She was a natural counselor who was there to lend an ear and offer her sage advice and guidance to anyone who needed it. She touched and helped many people throughout her life and instilled in her children, through words and example, the belief that every person is worthy of respect, kindness, and forgiveness. Her door was always open to anyone who needed to talk and her home was always open to anyone who needed a meal or a place to stay. During the past 10 years, her physical health declined and she suffered from several chronic medical conditions. Throughout the course of her illnesses, she was a model of strength, courage, determination, and dignity, and she continued to provide emotional support and practical assistance to all who needed it. Above all, Janet dedicated her life to the happiness of her husband, children, and grandchildren, each of whom she loved unconditionally with all her heart.
She will be lovingly remembered by her 4 daughters: Lisa (Doug) Stichert of Pleasant Prairie, WI; Jill (Michael) Niedziela of Bolingbrook, IL; Heidi (Dennis) Massie, of Park Rapids, MN and Paula Haynes of Boston, MA; 2 sons: Peter (Sara Roy) Schmutzer of Grand Forks, ND and Timothy (Jodi Hodgson) Schmutzer of Pine City, MN; 7 grandchildren: Paul Massie, Celine and Rebecca Stichert, Elizabeth and Katherine Niedziela, and Gabriel and Annika Schmutzer; as well as numerous other relatives, friends and people whose lives she touched. She is also survived by her parents: Joseph and Helen DeCeault; 2 sisters: Denise (Keith) Gulbranson and Melinda (Jim) Dawes and 2 brothers: Thomas and David DeCeault.
Janet was preceded in death by her husband, Ronald; son, Christopher and grandparent: Thomas and Marguerite Kuchuris.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11:00 am on Friday, October 29, 2010 at St. Peter The Apostle Catholic Church in Park Rapids, Minnesota. Active casketbearers will be: Peter and Timothy Schmutzer, Paul and Dennis Massie, Michael Niedziela, and Doug Stichert. Interment will be made in the Immaculate Conception Lakeside Cemetery at Nevis, MN. Visitation will be held from 5:00pm to 7:00 pm on Thursday, October 28, 2010 at Jones-Pearson Funeral Home in Park Rapids, Minnesota.