Janice Louise (Birt) Harper, 78, of Boardman, passed away December 8, 2021, at Hospice of the Valley Hospice House following a long and courageous struggle with Parkinson's disease.
She was born October 8, 1943 in New Castle, PA, the daughter of Earl P. Johnson and Edna (Fox) Johnson. She was a loving person, a wonderful wife, mother and grandmother, and exemplified her motto: "Living to Serve."
Janice graduated from Slippery Rock University in 1965 with a degree in English education. She began her teaching career as an English instructor at George Washington Middle School in New Castle. Following a move to the Carlisle, PA area, she taught in the Carlisle and Big Spring school districts. During that time she earned a Master's degree in guidance and counseling from Shippensburg State University. Upon her return to this area in 1972, she was employed by the Mohawk School District as a guidance counselor, a job she held for 32 years before retiring in 2004. She was active in local, state and national education associations, serving on numerous committees. Janice greatly enjoyed her role as a counselor and provided aid and assistance to numerous students and families.
Janice was a lifelong Presbyterian and a long-term member of the Poland Presbyterian Church. She was an ordained elder having twice been elected to serve on session. Janice was a member of the parish life committee for over 30 years. She also served on the church scholarship committee, nominations committee, mission committee, Christian education committee and helped teach confirmation classes.
Janice enjoyed many activities especially arranging flowers and creating wreaths and other decorations a number of which are displayed throughout the community. She was a member of the Youngstown Garden Forum and the Daphne Garden Club as well as the Friends of Boardman Library. She also enjoyed playing cards with friends, crocheting and entertaining in her home.
She was a kind and caring person who loved her family and will be greatly missed by her husband, Paul R. ( Dick) Harper; two sons, Shannon S. Birt of Madison, OH, and William L. Birt, Jr., of Mt. Gretna, PA; two grandchildren, Jenna P. Birt and Jackson S. Birt both of Conneaut and Madison, OH; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Janice was preceded in death by an infant brother, Gerald Wayne Johnson; a sister, Marian Elaine Kennedy (David); a foster sister, Eleanor Martin Bozwak; as well as her parents.
Family and friends will be received Tuesday, December 14, 2021, from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. at the Cunningham Becker Funeral Home, 270 N. Main St., Poland, OH, and Wednesday, December 15, 2021, from 10:00 a.m. until 10:45 a.m. at the Poland Presbyterian Church, 2 Poland Manor, Poland, OH. A funeral service will follow Wednesday at 11 :00 a.m. at the church with Dr. Paul Anderson officiating.
The family wishes to express their gratitude to Hospice of the Valley and Shepherd of the Valley Home Health Care Services for the kind and competent care afforded Janice during her illness with a special thank you going to Sandy and Bethany. In addition, a thank you goes to Barb Burnside for her years of loving care shown to Janice.