Janet D. Wagner
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Janet D. Wagner
  • December 16, 1934 - December 22, 2017
  • Peoria, Illinois

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Jan Wagner, 83, of Peoria, IL passed gracefully into Heaven on 22 December, surrounded by her family, after complications from a hemorrhagic stroke at the Richard L. Owens Hospice Center in Peoria. Jan was born late on a snowy December 16, 1934 to Russell and Inis Romine at their rural farmhouse in Downs, IL. Doc Williams was summoned by horseback through the storm. Jan was the 7th of 15 Romine children. Jan's twin, Janiece (Stanger), came as a surprise early the next morning. The Romine family lived and farmed near LeRoy, IL and attended the Downs area schools and the United Methodist Church of Downs. The story of Jan's life truly begins the day that Donnie Wagner met eyes with her across the classroom, in 7th grade. She accepted his offer of a stick of gum and the rest was a love story for the ages. It was then that Jan began her lifelong relationship with her second family, the Wagners. This close-knit bunch has supported Don and Jan through sickness and health, good times and bad. After 9 years of courtship, the two were married on September 2, 1956 in Downs, and recently celebrated their 62nd anniversary. The couple moved to Chicago as part of Don's tour of duty in the Army, and then returned to the family farm. In 1960, Don and Jan packed their belongings into a '49 Chevrolet and moved west - 50 miles west - to Peoria. Here they would make good friends, enjoy their neighbors and embrace the Peoria community. Jan worked for 35 years at Caterpillar Headquarters, as secretary to the Medical Director. She scheduled and processed all internal medical physicals, including international transfers, so there were not many who did not know Jan's sweet smile and pleasant disposition. Don and Jan welcomed and raised their first and only daughter, Lisa Lynn Wagner (Smith) in 1962. They enjoyed her years at the University of Illinois, during the 'glory days' of Illini Sports in the 1980's. Don and Jan continued to keep their season tickets long after Lisa had graduated. Don and Jan were fortunate to visit places far beyond their wildest dreams when they met in the tiny schoolhouse many years earlier. From Antarctica to Russia, Egypt to China, the Mediterranean to Alaska, the couple enjoyed tours with friends, often making more friends along the way. One of Jan's favorite trips was to the Holy Land and Jerusalem. Here in Peoria, Lisa married Cory Smith, of Chillicothe in 1986, and set in motion Act II of Jan's life, better known as "The Nana Years". Jan was President of and avid supporter of 'Don and Jan's Amazing Grandchildren Club'. She and Don attended every event, including soccer and swim meets, football games, cheerleading competitions, plays, musicals and graduations. Most notably, she was at every music performance for each of her grandchildren, Dylan Gregory, Laura Mae, Jenna Leigh, and Anna Grace. Whether the Naperville Riverwalk or Chicago's Symphony Center, she was there. Known as "Nana" to anyone north of I-80, she charmed, hugged and kissed almost everyone she met. Here in Peoria, Jan and Don built two dream homes, currently in Weaver Ridge, where they've lived since 2000. Built as a respite and haven for the kids, Jan's talents as a dedicated gardener and meticulous home-maker are evident throughout. The couple developed and treasured their social life with the neighborhood community until last week. They also spent many winters in The Villages, Florida, with the close-knit 'Yahoo' group, in addition to many other special groups of friends. Despite her diminutive and petite stature, Jan had a will and might that confounded doctors, families and friends. She loved and lived larger than life and will be truly missed. The sun did not shine on 22 December and the wind chimes she so loved hung silently for a few moments, but, we know that her spirit and light will live on although she has moved on to live in the Glory of Heaven. Jan is survived by her sweetheart, Don, her one true love, and her daughter and son-in-law, Lisa and Cory Smith. She is survived by siblings Janiece (Dean Stanger), Barbara Layten, Scott (Mary Lou) Romine, Kay (Joyce) Romine, Nadine Weber, Ron Romine and Owen Romine, Linda (Bill Bourret) and over 40 Romine nieces and nephews, by the Wagner clan, Ken and Sally Wagner, Colleen and Bill Armitage, along with the families of Mark, Joni, Staci, Todd, Michael, Brian and Matt. Nana is also survived by her grandchildren, Dylan Gregory (Chicago), Laura Mae (Seattle), Jenna Leigh (Champaign) and Anna Grace (Indianapolis). A visitation will be held on Tuesday, December 26, 2017, going from 4 to 7 p.m. at Davison-Fulton Woolsey-Wilton Funeral Home in Peoria the family has asked that all guests in attendance wear red. A funeral service will be held on Wednesday, December 27, 2017, starting at 11 a.m. at United Methodist Church in Downs, IL. A graveside service will follow at Hopewell Cemetery in Downs, IL.