Janine Wurm died peacefully on August 31 at the age of 78 at her home in Lawrence, Kansas, surrounded by her family. After years of fighting and winning against a series of medical setbacks, she decided enough was enough and gracefully declined further medical intervention for an aggressive cancer.
Janine was born on September 12, 1941, in Hoboken, New Jersey. Her family moved to Stony Point, New York, for her school years. She attended Immaculate Conception Elementary School in Stony Point, New York, and graduated from Haverstraw High School in 1959 with many friends that she held dear throughout her lifetime. Janine met the love of her life, Charlie, at Haverstraw High. She went on to work at West Point Military Academy while Charlie finished his undergraduate degree at St. Peter’s College in Jersey City, New Jersey. They married in 1963 just before Charlie joined the U.S. Army as a junior officer at the height of the Cold War and on the eve of the Vietnam War.
Janine loved the Army life, picking up stakes with the kids to follow Charlie through many postings at home and overseas. Domestic assignments included Fort McClellan, Picatinny Arsenal, Fort Bragg, Fort Leavenworth, and Fort Belvoir. Overseas posts included Fulda, Germany, along the Inner German border; Izmir, Turkey, a block from the Aegean Sea; Hickam Air Force Base and Fort Shafter in Hawaii; and Winterbourne Gunner near Salisbury, England, a stone’s throw from Stonehenge. No matter where the mission sent them, she and Charlie never wavered in their duty. Janine had a talent for transitioning the family to exciting new opportunities, loved the chance to see new places and meet new people, and always created a loving home wherever they landed in the world. Janine and Charlie made many lifetime friends along the way.
After their years in the Army, Janine and Charlie lived in Virginia while Janine finished her master’s degree in social welfare and Charlie worked as a strategic consultant to the military. They then lived in Omaha while Charlie went to the University of Nebraska Medical Center to redefine his career path as a physician’s assistant. They spent many years in Topeka, where Charlie practiced until they made their retirement home in Lawrence to be closer to their grandchildren.
Janine’s life wasn’t always easy, as she was disabled for the last two decades of her life, yet she greeted each day with renewed optimism, positivity, and grace. Her light was never dimmed by her daily struggles, and she wanted nothing more than to be with her family and Charlie, her stalwart companion and caregiver. She was passionate, compassionate, and opinionated, a strong matriarchal presence that defined the family. She was funny and loved to laugh right up to her last days. Her loss leaves a void that will never be filled.
Janine earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from Kansas City Community College, George Mason University, and Virginia Commonwealth University. She was a social worker at George Washington Hospital in Washington, D.C.; the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska; Methodist Hospital in Kansas City, and Lawrence Memorial Hospital. Janine’s specialty was discharge planning and helping families obtain care for their loved ones.
She is survived by her husband, Charlie; children, Nina (Kurt), Chip (Erin), and four grandchildren: Zoe, of Eugene, Oregon; Lauren, of Mission, Kansas; and Claire and Max, both of Lawrence. She was preceded in death by her parents and her brother Michael of Pasadena, California. Janine’s family wishes to thank Dr. Kevin Stuever and VNA Hospice for their compassionate care.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:00 a.m. Friday, September 4, 2020 at Corpus Christi Catholic Church. Burial will be held at a later date at Ft. Leavenworth National Cemetery in Leavenworth, Kansas.
A Rosary will be recited at 5:00 p.m. Thursday, September 3, 2020 with a visitation to follow until 9:00 p.m. at Warren-McElwain Mortuary in Lawrence.
Memorial contributions may be made in her name to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and may be sent in care of Warren-McElwain Mortuary, 120 W. 13th Street, Lawrence, KS 66044.