Janet Day, above, has a love for family, farming, caring for others, and community.
Evening Snapshot: Meet Janet Day
By Mike Coughlin
Spend a few minutes with Janet Day and you will quickly realize that she is a person with many passions. She is passionate about her family, her farm, her nursing career and, not least of all, the town she calls home – Napoleon.
The Early Years – Her dad grew up in Brooklyn, her mom in Addison. They met, sharing their mutual love for dancing which they did together at the dance halls on Clark Lake and Wamplers Lake in the Irish hills. They moved to Addison where their first child was born – Janet Lee Johns – named after her grandmother’s brother. Janet’s dad, a truck driver for Simons Brothers grocery stores, moved the family to Ackerson Lake in Napoleon, where Janet got to enjoy swimming, fishing and skating. As she describes it, it was a wonderful childhood. After fourth grade, they moved again when Janet’s dad purchased a gas station and grocery store on M-50 in Napoleon. Janet got to work side-by-side with her dad selling groceries and pumping gas. She remembers that she pumped an awful lot of gas at 25 cents a gallon back then.
Schooling – Janet attended Napoleon Schools, where she achieved good grades and was very actively involved. She played tenor saxophone in concert band, was a cheerleader for the basketball team, was a majorette in the marching band and, when Napoleon added girls’ sports, joined the girls’ basketball team.
After high school graduation, Janet went off to attend nursing school at Jackson Community College, which at the time was located in two separate buildings on both sides of Jackson High School on Wildwood Street. Janet’s real goal, however, was not to be a nurse. It was to be an airline stewardess.
“My ultimate goal was to be a stewardess on an airline,” she said. “But I knew that they hired nurses before the general public, so I went off to nursing school first. Well, I got to be a nurse but never made it to be a stewardess.”
A Farmer’s wife and a nurse – In 1956, she married John Day whose family owned a large 500-acre dairy farm in Napoleon.
“I was a suburban girl, not a country girl,” Janet said. “I knew nothing about dairy farming.”
Janet hired into Foote Hospital in Jackson as an RN, and then moved on to a practice in a doctor’s office in Jackson.
“I was never afraid of work,” Janet says. “I’d come home from working my nursing job to work on the dairy farm and raise my four kids. I used to take my babies out and lay them down in the straw in the barn while I milked and fed the cows and cleaned up after them.”
Giving Back – Janet has been working for Napoleon Township in various capacities since the 1970s. Her first position was with the planning commission. In 1990 there was a recall of the township clerk. Janet was appointed to the job, and then was successfully elected to the position for the next four terms. She currently serves on the township’s Zoning Board of Appeals, the Board of Review, and is a precinct chair for all the township elections.
Besides her work at the township offices, Janet spent 32 years volunteering with the Special Olympics organization as a team nurse helping to administer children their medicines when they traveled to out-of-town events.
And if you ever find yourself at Columbia Elementary or Ezra Eby Elementary, you’re likely to see Janet helping the children with their reading skills.
Love for Napoleon – One of Janet’s passions is Napoleon Township. It is not only a place where she hangs her hat, but where she, her children, her grandchildren, and even a great grandchild now attend school. It is a place where she drove a school bus for over 18 years, attends the Napoleon United Methodist Church, and continues to work and volunteer for the township and school district. She is both known and loved in this community that she calls home.
“I love Napoleon,” Janet says. “It’s like a family for me. We just know everybody here. It’s like a family town.”
Napoleon is, indeed, blessed to have someone like Janet in its midst.
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The joy of the Lord is your strength. Neh. 8:10