(nee Vinson/Stocker/Schmitz) 85, was born in Weatherford, Texas on September 24, 1932 to Thomas and Lillie Mae (Kyle) Vinson and passed from this Earth on July 21, 2018 at Pine Haven Christian Community, Sheboygan Falls, WI. Loving volunteers, staff, husband, Howard Hart and her daughter, Judy Wright, helped send Janie home. A farewell service will be held on Monday, July 30 at Pine Haven (220 Haven Dr, Sheboygan Falls, WI) in the Community Room at 3:30 PM with Pastor David VanDixhorn. Family will greet guests starting at 3:00 PM prior to the service.
Janie loved family and reunions and we pray that she is celebrating the greatest reunion now in Heaven with those who died before her including her parents, brother Raymond Vinson and sister Joye Vinson, aunts and uncles, husbands, Lyle Stocker and William Schmitz, and the many friends she loved so dearly, especially Eunice Fonfara.
Janie's life was simple but dramatic, and could make an interesting movie - she did chronicle her life in her book, "Life Lines" and would probably be thrilled to see it on the screen. Her life started out in the poor panhandle of Texas with the Depression and an older sister who left her shadow on the family when she succumbed to Rheumatic Fever. The family could not afford the art school Janie had chosen, but her good grades landed her a scholarship to a business college which led to her first job at Sheppard Air Force Base. There she met Corporal, Lyle Stocker, who came into her life like a Texas twister - telling people she was the girl he would marry, asking her out on a date, and "hooked" her with the line, "I love the way your mind works." After a one week courtship, they were married and headed to California. They moved to the Midwest, starting in Rockford, IL and eventually to West Bend, WI to raise their family of 4 children: Karen, Bruce, Judy and Steve. This marriage was cut short in 1971 when Lyle died suddenly in an auto accident. Janie was left with a family and a Ford dealership to manage. Her determination, faith and stubborn intelligence kept her going along with many close friends. The greatest blessing from their union was their children who survive her: Karen Stocker, Muscoda, WI; Bruce (Cheryl) Stocker, Sheboygan, WI; Judy Wright (Fiancé Rick Stauff), Plymouth, WI; and Steven Stocker, Delafield, WI.
After years of focus on work, kids and community activities, Janie’s friends starting setting up blind dates and this led to Bill Schmitz, who "hooked" her with - "With you, I feel alive again." They married in 1978 and settled in Elmhurst, IL with his 2 youngest daughters, Sandra and Sheila, who were still in high school. His oldest daughter, Sharon, was married. A blended family was the next challenge, but she took it on with enthusiasm and eventually won over all 3 girls who look on her as their special JMom. The daughters who survive her are: Sharon (Mike) Stark, Coral Springs, FL; Sandra (Anthony) Guaccio, Homewood, IL; and Sheila (Mike) Freeman, Williamston, MI. Bill and Janie shared a love of travel, golf, walks and retirement joys in Hot Springs Village, Arkansas as well as Our Place, a cottage on Thunder Lake in Three Lakes, Wisconsin. It was a retirement they both cherished to be able to share with family and lots of good friends. Bill died of cancer in 2001, and widowed for a second time, left Janie wondering if she should move north to be closer to family. God kept her in the Village with many loving friends and a church fellowship which led to her meeting Howard Hart when he invited her to join him as a greeter.
Howard was also widowed twice and he "hooked" Janie with his charm, generosity, and handyman skills. They were married in 2002 after a courtship of church, breakfasts and lots of talking. They were 70 and 75 years old and God blessed them with 15 golden years together. Janie opened her heart to the Hart extended family which includes Howard's children – Paul (Cheryl) Hart, Fort Wayne, IN; Sandy (Roger) Risch, Davenport, IA and special grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Janie is survived by all those mentioned above, including grandchildren Jake (Kelly) Brandt, Luke Brandt, Anna (Joey) Phelan, Alexandra (Brady) Moe, Stephanie (Rob) Beck, Jeffery Stark, Corrie (Tyler) Holt, Anthony and Austin Guaccio, Victoria and Jacqueline Freeman, and 5 ½ great-grandchildren. Her family and many friends have known her as a beautiful, multi-talented, high-spirited and stylish woman who gave her best in all things. She gave, she loved and she lived and she will be dearly missed. We wish her peace.
A special thank you to Judy, Bruce, Cheri, Steve and Nicki Stocker who helped Janie and Howard make the challenging move from Arkansas to Wisconsin - moving 3 times before settling in Sheboygan Falls. Their efforts as well as those of the caring volunteers and staff at Pine Haven and Sharon S. Richardson Hospice, will always be remembered. Special thanks to Craig Waas, Hospice Volunteer, for the compassion and love he so freely gave. Janie touched the lives of many and will forever hold a special place in the hearts of all that knew her.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to Sharon S. Richardson Hospice Center, (http://www.ssrhospicehome.org/) W2850 WI Hwy 28, Sheboygan Falls, WI 53085 or Village Bible Church, (http://www.vbchsv.org/) 100 Ponderosa Way, Hot Springs Village, AR 71909.