On the evening of October 6, 2019, at the Saline Evangelical Home, Janice Elizabeth (Rutt) Hansen of Ann Arbor, MI, quietly slipped the bonds of the cancer she had fought valiantly for four years, entering the presence of God. Eternity doesn’t begin at death; it just becomes more real to us.
Jan was born to Dr. Robert and Wanda (Janice) Rutt in Wyandotte, MI on October 31, 1948. She graduated from St. Clair High School, St. Clair, MI, with the Class of ’66, and then moved on in preparation to become a psychologist. She graduated from St. Clair Community College in 1968, earning her bachelor’s degree and then her master’s degree from Eastern Michigan University in 1973. In 1977 she was awarded her doctorate from Kent State University. In addition to her educational studies, Jan participated in the Miss Ann Arbor pageant in 1969, and modeled for the Detroit, New York and Los Angeles Auto Shows in the late 60s.
On June 17, 1994, Jan married Mark Hansen at The Peony Gardens in the University of Michigan’s Nichols Arboretum, in Ann Arbor, MI. Together they blended their families beautifully. To Jan it was never “my family” or “your family”, it was just family. Whether it was laughter during the playful hijinks while with the Rutt’s or a quiet holiday on the homestead farm with the Hansen’s, she was equally at home.
Jan is survived by Mark, her husband of 25 years; a son, Eric and wife Karen Lippitt with Cullen and Quentin of Bellevue, MI, a daughter Megan and husband Rob Moorefield of Oak Ridge, NC with Emily and Jason; and a daughter Liesl and husband Steve Spence with Sean, Isaac, and Phillip of San Diego, California. Jan is also survived by two beloved brothers Brian (Kathy) of Redondo Beach, CA and Don (Pat) of Traverse City, MI, a brother-in-law Jon (Shawn Del) of Manitowoc, WI, and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. Preceding Jan in death were her parents Robert and Wanda Rutt, a brother, Doug Rutt, and her husband’s parents Harvey and Jenny Hansen.
Jan had a great heart for people, which probably led to her Washington DC-based service in the Peace Corps in the 70’s. In her volunteer service with the American Red Cross she counseled families of the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks to help them cope with their trauma and loss and served in Baton Rouge, LA in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Closer to home this same heart led her to become a tireless worker for those ravaged by brain injury including advocating for compassionate means within the state’s automotive no-fault law for victim’s rights. She was a tireless worker within and outside her profession as she reached out to those vulnerable to suicide.
Within the family, Jan’s heart for people was also at work. Jan faithfully supported Mark’s decades-long passion to knit together the extended families and generations of five different family lines – Janice, Rutt, Hansen, Nelson and Hall. Family members, no matter how many times removed, recognized in Jan and Mark two who sought to honor those who have gone before us and encourage those whose lives are lived now. In December 2014 Jan took a month off of work so she could write a biographical photographic book for Mark’s parents. This was providential as this unexpectedly was their last Christmas before their passing.
Though Jan did not have the lifelong passion for photography that Mark had, in order to support young musicians and to be with Mark she joined him in his longstanding role – both serving as Michigan State University Spartan Marching Band Photographers. She was on the sidelines and in the press box with camera in hand for nine years. Her last game served was just days before her cancer diagnosis in October 2015.
Many who knew Jan will say that she was an excellent conversationalist, because she was such a good listener. She took a sincere interest in the lives of others and would spend most of a conversation asking others about their lives and listening without distraction as they shared. Some of this was likely due to her training and calling as a professional psychologist, but it was deeper, too. It was who Jan was. In her career she worked within hospitals in Akron, OH, Boulder, CO, and Chelsea, MI, then as a part of a local Ann Arbor practice before beginning her own practice in Saline, MI in 1997, specializing in treatment of brain injury patients.
One of her esteemed colleagues said of Jan that her legacy will live on – her professional impact will be felt. Part of another colleague’s prayer at her bedside in recent days expresses the sentiments and appreciation many feel,
Thank you for Jan and for all of the lives she has touched and the people she has helped. Thank you for the gift of life. Jan has listened to you and done what she was put on this earth to do. When you are reunited with her again, I know you will say “well done good and faithful servant”. We thank you that the words she spoke and advice she gave will live on as we remember them and as we live them out. She will always be remembered with love. Be with us all and give us peace and understanding as we go through these days. Thank you for Jan and for allowing us to share life together. In Jesus name I pray, Amen
Funeral Services will be held on Monday, October 14, 2019 at 11:00 A.M. at the First United Methodist Church of Ann Arbor. Friends may join the family for a time of visitation on Sunday, October 13, 2019 from 2:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. at the Robison-Bahnmiller Funeral Home in Saline, and again at the church from 10:00 A.M. until the time of service at 11:00 A.M. Burial will take place privately at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the church or to the Brain Injury Association of Michigan. To leave a memory you have of Janice, or for directions please visit www.rbfhsaline.com.