Janet Mary Brassart

Janet Mary Brassart finished the final chapter of her life’s book on June 11, 2024. By all accounts, her own included, it was a life well-lived on her own terms and with few regrets.

Born on August 30, 1946, to Lester and Kathryn (Mader) Brummel in Ottawa, Kansas, Jan was raised a farmer’s daughter, which instilled in her a life-long love of rich, freshly tilled earth and all things green and growing.

From the beginning, family filled her life. With five uncles and six younger siblings, gatherings were large, frequent and loud, with libations a-plenty. You could always count her in for a hand of pitch as long as it was 7-point.

While working full-time and raising her family as a single parent, she earned a master’s degree in English with a minor in Spanish from Emporia State University. This was one of the many examples she set for her children, proving that any goal is within reach with enough hard work and planning.

She taught English and Spanish at Hartford and Olpe High School, touching countless lives and thriving on instilling a passion for literature and seeing the lightbulb moment, when she knew she had gotten through.

Her love of education continued into retirement with active membership in K-State’s Extension Master Gardener program, where she could spread her enthusiasm for self-sufficiency and growing food, which she frequently sold at her booth at the Emporia Farmer’s Market.

Jan believed reading was the cheapest form of travel: “You can instantly transport yourself anywhere just by opening a book.” She read books by the author, even if she didn’t particularly care for them after the first, and read book series out of order if she didn’t feel like waiting out holds at the library.

A healthy sewing habit kept her home full of quilts, which she frequently gifted to loved ones. Her quilts were to be used, not displayed, so that people she cared about could be warm and comfortable.

Despite many tragedies and hardships, Jan remained an eternal optimist. She could make the best out of any situation and found no reasons to complain.

She is survived by her daughter, Elisabeth (Robert) Hardman; sons Paul (Jana) Wallen and Benjamin (Kristin) Brassart; grandchildren Andrew and Olivia Wallen, and Matt (Amanda) and Brandon Hardman; great-grandchild Andrew Hardman; and siblings Dave (Cathy) Brummel, Lawrence (Rhonda) Brummel, Ruth (Don) Wise, Karen (Larry) Wray, Cathy Harding, and Chris (Steve) Rogers; and many well-loved nieces and nephews.

Jan was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, John Brassart, Jr.; her daughter, Laura Wallen; and brother-in-law, Tim Harding.

We invite friends and family for “Snackin’ and Drinkin’” to celebrate her life on Friday, June 28th, 2024, from 4-7pm at the Arterra Gallery, 2161 Quail Creek Dr., Lawrence, KS.

In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Emporia Friends of the Library or the Emporia Farmers Market.

9 Condolences

  1. Jessica Elliott on June 12, 2024 at 6:58 pm

    I loved Mrs Brassart & sorry to hear she passed. She was smart, sassy & strong. I wrote my college entrance essay on her life. She was a single mom working at IBP but still finished college and taught at Hartford where she was my favorite teacher. I will miss her.

  2. Karen Myers on June 12, 2024 at 7:17 pm

    I first met Janet in Dr. John Somer’s literature class at ESU. Janet would ride her bike to class from IBP where she worked the night shift in the cooler. It’s odd, the things we remember: because of the temperature in the cooler, she always arrived to class wearing heavy wool socks. She was so smart and so much fun. We lost touch somewhere in the middle of all that is life, though I thought of her often through the years. She will be missed by all who knew and loved her. My condolences to her family.

  3. Martha MacKay on June 12, 2024 at 7:23 pm

    Oh my heart is breaking. Janet and I carpooled for years to work at Hartford High School. I will never forget the lessons and love I received from Janet. I don’t know if I would have made it through those first few years without her. She was truly a special lady.

  4. Melissa Laws on June 12, 2024 at 9:53 pm

    One of my favorite teachers as a student at Hartford High. She kept things real and was so easy to learn from. Sending my sincere condolences to her family as I am sure they will miss her dearly. Such a beautiful soul.

  5. Jane (Mader) Zielinski on June 12, 2024 at 10:16 pm

    I will always remember Jan’s big smile and hearty laugh. She helped me out with several projects when I was attending college in Emporia, while she was raising young children.
    Condolences to her family. She will be missed.

  6. Jackie Seibles on June 13, 2024 at 12:07 am

    Sending my condolences and prayers to the family during these difficult times. From our night shift learning team at Amazon CAE1. We will continue to keep each of you in our prayers.

  7. Sara Weber on June 13, 2024 at 7:52 am

    I remember spending time in the summer with Lisa and Laura. Jan was always busy working on something, usually outside. I can still hear her deep, hearty laugh…it was contagious. Prayers for you all. May she rest in peace.

  8. Steve Rogers on June 13, 2024 at 8:47 am

    It’s a family I’ve been a part of and loved so much for a long time. Jan was a big part of knowing that love, how to have fun, great conversations, and an abiding sense of the importance of relishing every minute you have with each other. I will miss her greatly.

  9. Jerilynn Henrikso on June 13, 2024 at 7:53 pm

    I met Jan through the Lyon County KSU Extension Master Gardeners Program. She was a delightful person, always helpful, always smiling. Her positive attitude and love for living things was an inspiration. Condolences to her family. Jerilynn Henrikson

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