Let the family know you care by sharing this tribute.
Janice Frerichs, very much a feminist before there was a popular term for it, finally capitulated on her right to self-determination, passing away on March 17, 2023, at the age of 90. Love, family, and friendship bound her to life. “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace according to thy word.”
Janice Mae Renander Frerichs, born on the kitchen table of the family’s small farm near Pender, Nebraska on September 18, 1932, was the middle of three children born to Floyd Richard Renander and Lillian Margaret Renander (née Anderson). Her childhood was divided between the farm and Omaha, Nebraska.
An Omaha Technical High School graduate at the age of 16 and a member of the First Covenant Church of Omaha, Janice began work in 1949 as a legal secretary. Her sharp tongue won the respect of many a boss, and a judge once let her father off on a speeding ticket after asking from the bench, “Are you Janice’s father?” On the old manual typewriters, she typed better than 100 words a minute. This presaged her ability to always find work, support her family, and quit when it suited her.
Much as she valued work, Janice relished an adventure, and among the more salient adventures in her life was the trip to Sweden in 1954 with Doris Ackerstrom. Those four months, and the two weeks in continental Europe, equipped her with many instructional (and often hilarious) tales as well as further proof of her independent spirit. It also inspired her very personal interpretation of Swedish-American cuisine.
On January 17, 1958, Janice married Herman Wilhelm Frerichs III, making this the 65th year of marriage for Jan and Herm. She shared life with her husband, a musician and Lutheran pastor, as he interned in Connecticut and North Dakota and served congregations in Newman Grove and Tekamah in Nebraska, Russell and Salina in Kansas, and Springfield, Missouri. Together they raised three sons, nurtured four grandchildren, and lived lives of service to God’s call.
Janice welcomed all to her home. Friends, family, fellow parishioners, and unexpected guests from near and very far would come just for a meal, and sometimes for a meal and a bed too. She enjoyed stories of people’s travel and insights won over meals that often included her mother’s signature braided cardamom bread and currant cookies.
Jan and Herm shared a love of music and outdoor activity that was passed to their children and grandchildren. Early on, it was tandem cycling. Later the pair took days-long hikes in Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, and Colorado. Their weekly drives through the countryside looking for an untried restaurant in an unexplored town were another source of good stories. All this – the food, the music, the adventure, the friendship and stories – transfigures in their grandchildren’s counted cross-stitch, their baking and Swedish pancakes, their travel and embrace of the new, and their appreciation, performance, and teaching of music.
“For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.”
Janice was preceded in death by her parents Floyd and Lillian; brother Clifford R. Renander and his wives Phyllis and Donna; sister Phyllis Y. Eichler and husband Harold; grandson Echo Maya. She is survived by her husband Herman; sons Warren (Miranda Grant), David (Dawn), and Karl (Marin Ritter); grandchildren Daniel (Amanda), Justine (Eric Anderson), Megan Hulse (Ricky), and Astrid; great-grandchild Eliza.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, April 1st at 11:00 am at Atonement Lutheran Church, 9948 Metcalf Ave., Overland Park, Kansas 66212. The service will be livestreamed at https://www.youtube.com/c/AtonementLutheranChurchOverlandParkKS .
In lieu of flowers, please donate to Lambda Legal ( https://lambdalegal.org/ ) in her name.
Mary Hass (Tena Warnke’s niece) says
My deepest sympathy to you Dave, Dawn and your entire family. Your mother sounds like an amazing woman and lived life to the fullest. We know she is rejoicing with her Lord in her heavenly home.
I also lost my mother, 92, on February 17th so I share your sorrow in losing your mother.
Mary Gates says
I’ll always remember Janice as one of my dearest friends. Her light shone out to many. I admired her straightforward manner and her intelligence and common sense. We shared many a lunch together. My love goes out to Herman and all her family, of whom I heard so much through the years
Nancy TeSelle says
Sending love and care to Herman, Warren, David, and Karl and all the family from Tekamah, Nebraska. You have all made a wonderful contribution to our lives and the visits we shared through the years and Janice was certainly the treasured glue for all those boys. May God comfort you as He welcomes Janice home.
Susan and Gary Metzger says
Herm and family,
Thank you for posting the obituary in the Springfield News-Leader. We remember Janice fondly from Messiah Lutheran when Herm pastored there. You were such a terrific couple with a sense of fun. Our prayers and deepest sympathies for your loss.
Betty and Dean Boxberger says
Our sympathy, thoughts and prayers are with you, Reverend Frerichs, and all your family in your loss of such a special lady!
Daniel & Crystal Schmidt San Pedro, CA says
Herman, Warren, David, and Karl – please accept our condolences. I have fond memories of Janice when my family visited you all in Tekamah, NE back in the mid-1970’s and when I lived in Russell, KS with Grandmother Schmidt in the early-1980’s and attended St John Lutheran Church. Seems like yesterday in parts of my mind. Our prayers and deepest sympathies on your loss.
Brian Hoffman says
Pastor Frerichs and Boys,
I am very sorry for the loss of your dear Wife and Mother. My Mom always cherished her time working in the Church office, and it was definitely a highlight in her life. Again, please accept my condolences on your loss.
Abigail Callen says
So sad to hear about Mrs.Frerichs passing. You and Mrs. Frerichs have made a deep impact on me and my family growing up in Springfield, MO. I will cherish the memories that I have of her and especially the last time I saw you two together at Messiah which was at the MOMS reunion several years ago (Mothers of Messiah). My thoughts are with you and your family at this incredibly hard time.
All of my love.
Ken and Debbie Allard says
Dear Frerichs Family,
Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this time of Janice’s passing. May many wonderful memories you each hold in your heart, bring a smile to your face as you remember this dear lady. With sympathy and loving thoughts.
Ken and Debbie Allard
Tracy Daniels and Mike Locke says
Our hearts go out to you and your family. It was a pleasure to have met her. What a life she led and legacy she has left. You have our deepest condolences.
Jeri Buffington Hintz says
Jeri Buffington HINTZ
Loving memories of Janice are with me today…one of the best women it has been my privilege to know.
Love to Herman and family; miss evenings at your house and having Hannah the Dachshund quietly growl for a snack! Loved my time at St.John’s, where I worked for and with some pretty wonderful people.
Yesenia Godinez says
My heart goes out to your family. My deepest condolences.
Don and Ida Bromm says
Dear Frerichs Family,
We were so sorry to hear of Janice’s passing. She was a neat lady and always enjoyed being with her in Circle meetings and other Emmanuel activities.
I enjoyed the first sentences about her being a feminist before we heard the word. So true! You are in our thoughts and prayers. With love.