Janice Dell BrownDecember 22, 1945 ~ April 4, 2017 (age 71)
Janice Dell Brown, a 71-year-old Houston resident, died suddenly in an automobile accident on Interstate 10 near Wade Rd on April 4, 2017 around 3:30pm. She is survived by her children, John Kirtland, Angel Cook, and Jody Kirtland as well as by her beloved sister, Diana Dell, along with many well-loved grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Jan, as she was known to friends and family, was a truly warm and wondrous woman who dedicated her life to helping others, living her life by the mantra that “there are no strangers, just friends you haven’t met yet.”
Jan was born in San Diego, California December 22, 1945 and spent her first eight years on the family farm in Missouri. The family relocated to Abbeyville, Louisiana for a few years before making a more permanent move to Lake Charles, Louisiana where she lived for many years, graduating from La Grange Senior High 1964. She later attended McNeese State University.
She worked in a variety of professional roles over the years, including being the Public Relations Director for Lake Charles Memorial Hospital; as a Publisher for a local magazine; and, as Director of Operations for a branch of the non-profit “SERR, Jobs for Progress”, later to be called Texas Workforce Solutions, where she helped others in finding work. She had the heart of an entrepreneur and spent most of her adult life in either Real Estate, as an independent Legal Assistant, or in consulting roles that left her free to the things she loved most in life, helping others.
Tragedy struck the family in 1987 when Jan’s youngest daughter, Kandy Kirtland, was the victim of murder. This event became the cornerstone of the subsequent chapters of her life, which she spent telling her story to help others heal, rehabilitate, and learn to grieve their own losses. She spent decades working twice a week in the prison ministry, “Bridges to Life”, where she touched the hearts of those in the program and other volunteers, many of whom she counted as her closest friends.
The death of her daughter also led to the execution of a man. After this, Jan became an anti-capital punishment activist, speaking out against the death penalty in a variety of venues, with the Texas Coalition Against the Death Penalty, and others. In her words, “I could either choose anger and hatred, or I could choose love. Where you have one, you cannot have the other. So, I chose love, and just chose to love Kandy.” To this end, she was quoted in a publication before a speaking event once in Bryan, TX in 2012 as saying, “People that hear my story say that it affects them, that it heals them with certain parts of their lives.”
Changing lives and loving others was reason she gave of herself; she was a healer aimed at changing the world one soul at a time.
Those that she healed, loved, or knew would tell you that to know her was simply to love her, and if she knew you, you can rest assured she loved you as well.
A memorial service is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. Wednesday, April 12, 2017 at First United Methodist Church, 1320 Main Street, Houston, TX, 77002.