Janice J. Marfice was born in Omaha, Nebraska on June 26, 1941. Her first years were notable only for the poverty and neglect she suffered until 1949 when the State of Nebraska took custody of Janice and nine of her siblings from their biological parents. The five oldest children, of which Janice was the youngest, became wards of the state, while the five youngest were placed immediately for adoption.
Janice resided for a time at the Nebraska Children's Home and with various foster families until 1951 when she was blessed with the first of many families that she would become a part of. She was adopted by Carl and Emma Cunningham and went home to Table Rock, Nebraska where the rest of her life's journey was set in motion.
Doting parents of their only child, Carl and Emma, a businessman and teacher, respectively, instilled in Janice the very essence of "unconditional love," generosity toward others, personal responsibility and "family first." These attributes became part of the fabric of who she was.
Janice was taught by her mother at Table Rock High School and played varsity volleyball. This was no small feat for someone with small feet- Janice's towering 5-foot, 2-inch frame must have struck fear in the hearts of many opponents throughout southeast Nebraska when she and her Table Rock Tigers teammates took to the court.
As she assimilated into the bright lights and fast-pace of life in Table Rock (pop. 300), Janice worked with her parents at their grocery store and enjoyed the company of schoolmates who would become her lifelong friends. One of them was a lanky Catholic farm boy named Norman. Norman was the 10th of Helen and John Marfice's eleven children with aspirations that were too big to keep on the farm and an eye for the pretty Cunningham girl.
Norman "officially" began dating Janice in 1956 (after Emma thwarted an earlier overture.) After a few hayrides, church picnics and the third degree from Janice's grandmother, they were married in Greeley, Colorado in 1960. Up or down, thin or flush, in 64 years they never left each other's side.
Their first child, Deborah soon joined Janice and Norman and, as first children are wont to do, quickly became the apple of her mother's eye. Norman studied engineering at the University of Nebraska while Janice dedicated herself fully to the role of a wife and mother, the vocation to which she would dedicate herself for decades to come. Coached in the finer points of spelling, reading and arithmetic, Deborah was precocious, excelled at school and was ever the source of maternal pride for Janice (even though her volleyball skills were found wanting.) In 1964, son Douglas arrived to provide some much-needed comedy relief. He made Janice rethink the whole concept of parenthood and often tested her capacity for forgiveness. Eventually though, she came to like him best. That's just how she rolled.
Janice, Norman and their young family first lived in Greeley, Colorado then Lincoln, followed by a short stint in Milwaukee, Wisconsin after Norman finished college. They returned (to the delight of Emma and Carl) to Nebraska in 1969 to live in Omaha, spending frequent weekends and virtually all holidays back in Table Rock. After a short relocation to Nebraska City, where Janice quickly forged more lifelong friendships, Omaha again became their home and where they remained.
Their home in Omaha became the palate for Janice's unique decorating influences and home to a Smithsonian sized collection of tchotchkies. It was "mail order central" every Christmas season providing her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren laughter beyond measure as they opened their unique and inexplicable collection of gifts. Most importantly their home became the frequent gathering place for a large and ever growing "family" many of whom were related not by blood or marriage, but by the warmth and acceptance that Janice offered to all for whom she cared. And "care for..." she did. Janice was a guardian angel for anyone who was sick, struggling, infirm or in need. She embraced the role of a caregiver time and time again, frequently helping friends and family make their final journey, just as she made hers these past several weeks.
Janice was baptized into the Catholic Church in 1990 at age 49. For the rest of her life she exemplified the best of traditions of the Church - faith, hope and charity. She endured the slow progression of Parkinson's disease with dignity and without complaint, saying only that she didn't want to be a burden. On Thanksgiving morning, November 28, with her beloved Norman at her side, Janice entered into the eternal peace and comfort that she so well earned in this life. We will all miss her.
Janice Jeri Marfice, age 78, the daughter of Carl and Emma (Wood) Cunningham, was born June 26, 1941 in Omaha, Nebraska. She passed away November 28, 2019 in Omaha, Nebraska.
Janice is survived by her husband, Norman Marfice; children: Deborah Matthews (Tom) and Douglas Marfice (Jillora); grandchildren: Ann Matthews, Sara Hoffman (Michael), Nick Matthews (Nicole), Christina Marfice, Adam Marfice (Ashley), John Marfice; several great-grandchildren; nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends. She was preceded in death by her parents, Carl and Emma Cunningham; grandson, Jeffrey Marfice.
Mass of Christian Burial will be 11:00 A.M., Tuesday, December 3, 2019 at St. James Catholic Church, 4710 North 90th Street, Omaha, NE 68134. Visitation will be 5:00 to 7:00 P.M. with a Prayer Service starting at 7;00 P.M., Monday, December 2, 2019 at Forest Lawn Funeral Home. Inurnment at a later date at Forest Lawn Cemetery. Memorials are suggested to: Nebraska Children's Home Society, St. James Catholic Church or Kiwanis Club of Omaha Golden K Foundation.
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Aunt Janice, YOU'RE STILL THE BEST!!! - Love your niece, Jenny
Norman we are heartbroken by your loss and are sorry we cannot be there during this difficult time. We will always remember Jan’s Feisty personality “she never wanted her picture taken”, The weekly calls on Sunday, sharing the family happenings and etc. the weather, the birds from her window, how many deer or turkey visitors to your yard. She said she enjoyed the Apricot goodies that we have sent in the past. Jan may have died but she is not gone she will always be a part of our lives. Every time I see a goldfinch or a hummingbird I’ll think of Aunt Jan.
Isabel & Patrick Phillips
I am so sorry to hear of your wife's passing. I know what a loss this is to you and your family. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
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