I never saw Janet DeShone when she wasn’t smiling.
She knew pain and heartache as she fought breast cancer. But she remained upbeat. She died Sunday at home surrounded by her family at the age of 68.
Five weeks ago, she learned that she had three to six months to live and love. She didn’t suffer long, according to her family.
This afternoon, friends and family are gathering at Hartzler-Gutermuth-Inman Funeral Home. There are a few tears. But mostly the family is smiling and hugging those who are coming to pay respects. She would have probably wanted it that way.
Harry and Janet married in March 1963. They celebrated with the 50th anniversary with a family party.
The family knows how to throw a party. They’ve been doing it at Heinnie’s, Stacy’s and Maxi’s, the three restaurants they started, for decades.
Janet married into a family that had a long history of operating a bar in Elkhart, even during Prohibition.
She loved a good margarita. She loved being with her family. She could put her boys Bill and Troy, who operate Heinnie’s now, in their place. She showered love on her daughters, daughters-in-law and grandchildren too.
At the viewing, Harry was cracking jokes, but was quick to credit his wife with how his family turned out.
They’re celebrating her life. There are tears and will be more, but mostly they’re warmly greeting people who come. They’ve made an awful lot of friends over the years. Janet’s spirit, her smile, her graciousness is something others in the family have modeled too. And that’s why their restaurants have been successful.
Every year, Janet made a holiday punch. It’d be available at Heinnie’s on just that day for friends and regular customers on Christmas Eve.
I don’t know what all it had in it, but know it was sweet and strong – like her – and had fruit cocktail in it.
I became a fan of that punch. And a couple years, Janet made me my own container of it. I couldn’t say thank you enough for that gesture.
Several family members assured me that they’ll make the punch this winter. They have the recipe. But they also said it probably won’t be quite the same.
Janet was special. I’ll miss her smile. I’ll miss her spirit.
But when I look at her children and grandchildren, I can see both. Her legacy will live on.