Rest well, Mumma: Janice M. Featherly (1935-2018)

Me and my mom, circa 1999

Janice M. Featherly, of Minong, Wis., died peacefully on Friday, Sept. 21, in the home she shared with her son. She was 83.

Janice was born in Drummond, Wis., on Feb. 18, 1935, one of four children born to Vivian and Ole E. Jorgenson. She had not finished high school when she graduated to motherhood, yet she possessed a keen intelligence and rare wisdom that made her the rock of her large family. She faced a life of many challenges and frequent hardship with strength, grace, love, humor and irascibility. Of her, I once remarked to a sibling, “I’ve never known anyone who could be so ornery and still have everyone adore her.”

Janice lived for moments spent with her children and her scores of grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great grandchildren. She loved her Green Bay Packers and her Chicago Cubs. She was an avid reader of suspense fiction and historical romance. She delighted in flowers, wildlife and gentle summer breezes. She was a fan of early rock-and-roll and country music and was a devotee of Elvis Presley, Conway Twitter and Lee Greenwood. She also loved coffee and conversation. Many in Minong will remember the countless mornings she spent at Wendy’s Cafe, rolling dice with her coffee klatsche to determine whose turn it was to pay.

A child of the Great Depression and WWII, Janice committed herself to her Christian faith and to the difficult toil and struggle of a working-class wife and mother of the last century’s middle decades.

Her husband, Phillip N. Featherly, a truck driver, logger and plant foreman, died in 1985. She never remarried.

Hers was the good life of an engaging and resourceful woman who often sewed the clothes and canned the food for her family. She was richly rewarded with the devotion of friends, family and the seven children who all survive her. Her light will shine within those she loved for many generations.

Besides her husband, father and mother, Janice was preceded in death by her sister, Jacquelyn Andren. Her stepfather, Falke Helden, whom she regarded as her real dad, was a veteran of WWII who died in 1987. Her mother, the long-time Drummond city clerk, was Janice’s lifelong hero. Her grandson, Brian Miller, died at age 29 in 2005.

She is survived by her children, Christine (Arvis) Holland of Minong; Philip “Sonny” Featherly of Minong; Douglas (Tammy) Featherly of Bessemer, Mich.; Cecelia (Jim) Jayme of St. Croix Falls, Wis.; Kurtis (Linda) Featherly, of Minong; Kevin (Tammy Nelson) Featherly, of Bloomington, Minn.; and Bruce Featherly, who lived with and cared for his mother in Minong. Janice also is survived by her sister, Kathryn Frederick, of Drummond, and her brother Rendy Jorgenson, of Fitchburg, Mass.

A memorial celebration is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 28, 2018, with visitation at 3 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. and services from 3:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. at The River Church, N13205 Rice Lake Road, Minong, Wis. Fellowship will follow at the Town of Minong Hall at W7095 Nancy Lake Road, Minong.

This is my own version of my mom’s obit. A different version, not written by me, ran today in the Spooner Advocate.



  1. Kevin, I chanced on your blog a year or so back. Nearly 20 years ago I sold you a treadmill. Our store manager butted into the sale process, and after he left you said “who was that asshole?” Your comment lived on among the staff for years – he was an “asshole.” When I saw your sad note about your mother I realized we’d once been neighbors I was living in Wascott during your boyhood. Small world.

  2. Beautifully written, Kevin. Thinking of you and your siblings.

  3. This story of Tammy’s mother is a gift to all of us who never met her. She sounds like a woman I truly would have liked. Tammy must have received her strength and tolerance for what life brings from her.

    • I think maybe Tammy did get a bit of a bounce out of my mom, but her mom is alive and well, thankfully. But thank you for the sentiment and thanks for reading the piece. Indeed, I believe you would have liked her.

  4. Vivian (Babe) Josephson 09/28/2018 at 7:08 pm

    So beautiful and heart touching Kevin. Your mom was a beautiful person . My mom Zelda and I always enjoyed our visits with her whenever we were in the area.
    My Aunt Tessie Huset sends her condolences to your family. She remembered how well she treated her the times she stayed at the hotel when traveling.
    Sorry I couldn’t attend today but was thinking of you all.
    Love Babe

    • Thank, Babe. Mom talked a lot about Zelda. I think her loss was a big blow to my mom. She once insisted she didn’t want a funeral because “none of my friends will be there.” That was shortly after Zelda died and I am sure she was part of how my mom was feeling in that moment.

  5. David Lenander 09/29/2018 at 5:09 pm

    thanks for these comments, augmenting your nephew’s reminiscence.

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