Janice von Schummer
01/31/1951 - 08/02/2021
Obituary For Janice von Schummer
On Monday, August 2, 2021, a most beautiful soul, wife, mother, aunt, gardener, artist, seamstress, thrift store fashionista, mechanic, decorator, entrepreneur and friend who always had a way with words, Janice Madeline Jeffreys von Schummer, passed away at the age of 70.
She is survived by her soulmate and loving husband, Carl von Schummer; Daughter, Nicol Karn; Sister, Gail Wilhoite; Brother-in-Law, Peter Berman, Niece, Jules Marie; Nephews, Brian and Jeremy Berman and Bret and Sean Harris. She is preceded by her father and mother, S.I (Jeff) and Madeline Jeffreys; sister, Renee Berman; cousin, Bruce Paquett.
Janice was born in Los Angeles California, where her love for gardening was inspired by her father, and she had her own eye for fashion, antiques, elegance, prudence and entertaining, acquired from her mother. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University Northridge in 1972, had a keen eye for photography, and enjoyed painting too. While attending College, she met a blue-eyed Swede, the love of her life, Carl von Schummer, who from the start was a friend and a confidant, where their love burned as strong as her tongue, for 49 memorable years.
After their wedding in 1971, the two of them would talk, plan and make adventures through every turn of life, from their first motorcycle ride through the canyons of the Hollywood Hills, to their first house in Kagel Canyon overlooking the San Fernando Valley, to taking a VW camper bus across country to Vermont, away from the city life of LA, CA. After they returned from that trip they, in the fall of 1972, bought a Mayflower Moving Van, packed up the dogs and set off to make a new start, a new way of living in the Green Mountains of Vermont.
Carl knew how to work on cars and motorcycles, and although Janice couldn’t stand to do the numbers, she knew she was going to be the one keeping things on track, or at least trying her best. So, they put out a hand painted sign off the side of the road in front of an old garage in Barre, VT, “Will Work on Cars” … With Carl’s sparkling blue eyes, Janice’s good looks (what a knockout), and with both of their charm, they made a business out of nothing but love, hunger, goodwill, and hard work.
While working and living in a small roadside shop, in 1977, along came their only Daughter, Nicol, who by the time she knew the alphabet was helping Janice file papers, put away inventory and polishing bikes. After school snacks earned after working with Janice, who from the cat bird seat and her piles of papers, made sure that the bills were paid, the employees had what they needed, and that the clients knew how much they were appreciated. Hosting Thanksgivings with Alice’s Restaurant playing in the distance, for all that could come and give thanks with us.
At home, she would keep a fine house. Her Blue Willow dishes, carefully placed antiques and things she held dear, history stowed carefully in hope-chests, pictures with notes, hand sewn napkins, and a garden variety of plants, some of which were obtained by her quick hand and a look in the other direction. She was always ready to dress up for Halloween, with the scariest homemade paper-mache witch mask, and the making of Christmas decorations out of clothes pins, popcorn or old magazines. She would tell Nicol to go gather vegetables for dinner and to not eat them all before she came back, with baby fresh carrots, snow peas, asparagus, beans, rhubarb and the like. From Barre, to Plainfield, to Montpelier, VT, making lifelong friends that will always be family at heart, and making BMW Motorcycles believe in them enough to get them transferred from VT to Charlotte, NC. Back to a big city, and into the South, where they made their mark. After twenty years in Charlotte they retired back to the mountains, where her heart felt at home, to Etowah, NC, finally landing where her earth angel wings let her fly free in Hendersonville, NC, a place where she finally had the garden of her dreams, and with as many irises as I've ever seen.
As put together as she always appeared, I need to “put my face on” she’d say, before venturing out, with her all-knowing blue-grey eyes, and the one that was half hazel from a slip on a slide when she was a child, she had a silliness to her too, with her favorite choice for a summer gin and tonic being a Daffy Duck glass. You never did know what she would say. She had sass, sarcasm and a realism that always rang true. As enchantingly beautiful as she was, she was rarely full of herself and tried to please, was willing to pull up her sleeves and sure didn’t mind getting dirty, covered in paint, oil, or soil.
You may say she was much like a cat. 9 lives or more, and that is a fact. So many stories to tell of the legendary Janice, JJ, Ja-momma, Mom Star, Aunt Janice, my dear Sweetie, a legend to us all. In her honor, have a gin and tonic, sleepy time tea, early gray, or a VO and ginger. In any case, please share the stories, the ones that make you laugh, and remember to not take life so seriously, you can’t take it back.