By: Colleen Pierson
Janice Limbaugh has been an avid student of life. She was a beacon of humor, creativity, intelligence, and compassion to all who knew her. Death succumbed her last week after fighting a lengthy, courageous battle with cancer. She served as a model of a life well lived.
Janice made a name for herself here at WKTV Community Television as one of the individuals who started the Citizen Journalism program. I, along with the rest of the staff, had the opportunity to be alongside her in that journey. When you walked into her cubicle, we would all light up to see her face breaking grin and the way she celebrated life with uncommon vigor and joy. In a word, she was a SUPERSTAR.
She could write about anything, but what interested her most were stories that surrounded the history of the Wyoming/ Kentwood area, and people stories. On some days, we would just hang out at Marge’s Donut Den, and anyone that walked through those doors was fair game for a well-told story. She had a crisp mind and an uncanny focus when she sat down to write.
“Startup programs are never easy,” remarked Tom Norton, General Manager at WKTV. “Janice attacked all the challenges we gave her day in and day out in building a successful Citizen Journalism program here at the station. Always with a smile on her face. Always being the consummate professional.”
Gratitude always encompassed Janice. She always felt positively grateful for her family, friends, the winning performance of the Detroit Red Wings, and the ability to find a scenic camp site.
She also told me numerous times how thankful she was to the WKTV Board of Directors and Tom Norton who helped her extensively with medical bills and financial help throughout her cancer fight.
“Not many places of employment would do that for an employee these days,” Janice would relate.
She graduated from Redford Union High School in 1977, and from there went on to Grand Valley State University. Janice later transferred to Ferris State University, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in marketing and journalism in 1981.
Her Catholic faith played an important role throughout her entire life and helped her through the death of her beloved daughter Hannah and husband Dan Limbaugh. Her sons Dave and Nick have been a constant source of love.
In 2013, Janice met John Gore, and he later became her fiancé. She loved spending time outdoors which led to the purchase of a camper. The enjoyment continued as they traveled all over Michigan, enjoying the state’s natural beauty along the way. During Janice’s final days, John became her primary and devoted caregiver.
Because she was such a great friend and family person, her death leaves everyone who was part of her life in such profound grief.
The staff at WKTV may feel utterly bereft and sad for a while– losing the affable, huggable writer who was never at a loss for words. So, be kind to them. She was loved by all, and will not soon be forgotten.
I spoke to her two days before she died. The last thing she said was, “I do not want to suffer.”
I will always hold onto that.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Koss National Triple Negative Breast Cancer Research Foundation at curetnbc.org.