Obituary of Janet Powers
Janet M Powers (Cawley), “Jan”, died peacefully at home with her family on January, 6, 2019 at the age of 90. She is preceded in death by her parents, Clarence and Ruth Smith of Berlin, NH.
Jan is survived by her five children, Lyn Rice (Steve), Mary Cawley-Oliver (Rich), Thomas Cawley (Cindy), Gail Cawley (Tim Carroll) and Christopher Cawley (Heather) all of the Syracuse area. She loved time with her seven grandchildren, Gregory, Ryan, Allison, David, Anthony, Jessica and Kimmy along with 7 great grandchildren, all of which benefited in GG’s love of play as she would drop down to the ground upon their arrival to celebrate “silly”.
Born Sept. 22, 1928 in Berlin NH, Jan graduated from Berlin High School and went on to earn a BS in Physical Education from Sergeant College Boston University in 1950 and a Masters of Education from University College at SU in 1975. Jan taught thousands of area students over 30 years starting at St James Elementary, Bishop Ludden HS and finally at Clary JHS. Retiring from education in 1999, Jan continued working with senior citizens at McChesney and Cecile Senior Centers where she created an atmosphere of fun and continued learning. Lifelong friends were her reward.
While working at McChesney, Janet encouraged physical activity and competition, herself going on to win gold in Masters Badminton at the NY State Senior Games. At the Cecile Center she loved Kings in the Corner card games against some very tough competitors. Her work with seniors was recognized by the Onondaga County Commission on Aging with the Program Leader Award in 2002. She was an advocate for inclusion, reaching out to befriend anyone who may have felt left out, different, marginalized or physically challenged. There was always room at her table, or gymnasium. She was a resident of the Valley, the area she loved for its community of caring neighbors. She was active with the St James Altar Rosary Society when her children were younger and remained a member of the St James, Our Ladies of Lourdes and Our Lady of Hope parishes.
Up until a few weeks before her death she could be found on her treadmill, insisting she could increase her walking duration by a minute a day; a word to the wise, you didn’t tell her to take it easy. She enjoyed spending time with family, close friends and neighbors, especially Betty. SU Basketball was her winter staycation, her armchair coaching was not for the faint hearted or small children’s ears. Jan taught us to recognize opportunities to help others, don’t wait to be asked, quietly volunteer and be respectful. She lived by starting every day with a set of goals, always doing her best to get the job done. There were no goals for Sundays however when she enjoyed Mass and took inventory of her blessings, simply grateful for all God gave her. With unwavering faith she told us, “no tears, just a celebration, I’ve had a great life and a lot of fun.”
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 2pm Wednesday, following a calling hour at one at Saint James Church, 4845 South Salina Street, Syracuse, NY.
In lieu of flowers please donate to Hospice of CNY, St Agatha Foundation (saintagathafoundation.org) or an act of kindness.