JANET C. HILLS, age 85, of Loyal, WI, died Friday, December 29, 2023, at Stoney River Assisted Living Center in Marshfield, WI, where she had been a resident for the past six months. Her son Jim, and daughter-in-law Amy, were at her side as she passed away peacefully to the music of Josh Groban, one of her favorite singers. Funeral services will be held at 11am on Saturday, April 13, 2024, at St. Anthony Catholic Church in Loyal, with Rev. Emmanuel Famiyeh officiating. A visitation will be held at the church, on Saturday, from 9:30am until the time of service.
Janet Catherine Christenson was born on January 7, 1938 in Loyal, WI, to James T. and Mathilda S. (Schelvan) Christenson. Her sister, Jeanne, gave her the nickname “Honey” as a child and continued to call her that throughout her life. Jeanne also described Janet as brave, never shy and always looking to make a friend. As the baby of the family, she was seen as a happy-go-lucky child, who especially enjoyed the summers and fishing season. Her extended family went "Up North" every summer, where they spent time at a friend's fishing lodge. Janet's mom and dad were avid anglers, and she inherited the love of fishing from them.
She was raised and received her education in Loyal, attending St. Anthony’s Catholic School, and graduating from Loyal High School in 1956. Janet enjoyed her years at Loyal High School, where she participated in various clubs, including chorus and band. She loved to sing! She also shared many good times with her close group of girlfriends, some of whom have been lifelong. Janet met her future husband, Donald “Donnie” Hills in high school, and they were united in marriage on December 24, 1956. They lived in Loyal for most of their life, except for a brief time when Donnie was serving in the U.S. Army and was stationed in Washington State.
On their return to Wisconsin, Janet worked at a variety of different jobs in the area until she and Donnie, along with Donnie's brother, Al, and his wife Betty, purchased the Loyal Bowling Alley in 1969. They were so proud to rename it Hills Bros. Bowl and spent many happy years "behind the bar". Soon after Al's untimely death in 1990, they sold the business and Janet began her new, and probably most rewarding job, when she became a nanny to the children of Drs. Loren Rolak and Roxanne Rokey. Janet loved being a part of their lives. The girls, Kelly and Stacey, called her “Grandma Jan,” as other children in Loyal would. She had many adventures as she traveled with the family to Europe and throughout the U.S. After retiring, she and Donnie shared the hobby of fishing, and spent many afternoons by a lake or river with Donnie fishing and Janet reading a book nearby.
She was known for her kindness to friends who needed help; be it rides to clinic appointments, staying in their homes with them after they recovered from procedures, taking them grocery shopping, and just visiting with them when they were sad. Janet loved sitting on her front porch, watching people walk by and inviting them to stop and talk for a while. She always had a smile on her face for her friends.
Life became more challenging for Janet after Donnie died in 2022. She remained in the home where she and Donnie had raised their children and lived for 60+ years. She then moved to Stoney River in June of 2023, where she enjoyed the activities, musical groups and having people around.
Janet was a member of St. Anthony's Catholic Church, the Loyal Chamber of Commerce and other city organizations over the years.
She is survived by her children: Donna (Vern) Geiger of Mesa, AZ, Dan (Cyndy) Hills of Coppell, TX, Tim (Monica) Hills of Rockford, IL, Jim (Amy) Hills of Loyal, WI; five grandchildren: Troy Hills of Eau Claire, WI, Daniel Geiger of Brooklyn, NY, Shawn (Megan) Geiger of San Tan Valley, AZ, Nate Hills of Pensacola, FL, Elaina Hills of Dubuque, IA, and one great-grandson, Max Geiger of San Tan Valley, AZ. Janet was thrilled to have Max visit her in September, where he gave her enough hugs to last her lifetime. She is survived by her loving sister, Jeanne Mike of Greenfield, WI; brothers and sisters-in-law, and many nieces and nephews, whom she loved dearly.
Janet was preceded in death by her husband, Donnie, who passed away on April 3, 2022 (it was their 67th wedding anniversary this past Christmas Eve); her parents, and her brother, Jim Christenson.
The family would like to extend a huge thank you to her many friends and family members who visited both at home and at Stoney River. Thank you for your kindness and patience. Another thank you goes to the staff at Stoney River, who brightened her days and tried to keep her busy over the last six months, and Heartland Hospice, who were angels who helped Janet and her family over the last week of her life.
Online condolences can be expressed at www.cuddiefh.com.
Cuddie Funeral Home of Loyal, WI is assisting the family with arrangements.
Feel free to contact us with questions and/or comments.