Monday, September 21, 2009

Janice Lowry Gothold March 30, 1946-September 20, 2009

Last night at 6 PM my beloved wife Janice completed the last part of her journey and quietly slipped from this world into the next. She was 63 years old.

She was at home in our bedroom, surrounded by the people she loved-including all three of our sons, our daughter in laws, our grandchildren and her best girl friend Katy Jo. She went calmly, quietly and without pain, which had been our solemn oath to her and something I am very proud to say we were able to fulfill for her. Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon was playing softly on our stereo, an album she listened to pretty much daily.

For the past few days she had told us that there was a cowboy in the bedroom with us, silently smiling and watching over her. She did not know who he was, but she could tell by his face that he was kind and she was not afraid. We told her that it was all right, we trusted him, it was OK for her to go with him and we are all going to be all right. When our time comes, we all know who to look for to take us to see Janice. And I'm sure by then she will have the afterlife totally wired, and we'll have the best looking piece of real estate in heaven.

The hole she leaves in our hearts, and in the world, is immense and quite frankly, I don't think will ever be filled. It seems that the brightest stars just can't burn with such intensity for overly long periods of time, and we have to enjoy and savor each moment with them as they pass through our orbits. Janice was the sun in our families universe, and it will be a long while before we can right ourselves and move on. That is truly the hell of it-for such a little person, she has left enormous shoes to fill.

We want to thank all of you-friends, family and loved ones for all the support you have shown us these past few months. It has taken a village, and we feel very blessed to have had a village as large and caring as you all are.

This will not be the end of this blog. We will be posting details about a memorial service, as well as keeping you posted on what Janice's plans for her final resting place are, which I promise you is classic Janice.

We also have an artist's legacy to keep alive and I hope that all of you out there will continue to post your memories and stories about her. She will never truly be gone as long as she is still in our hearts, and too few people in this world know about all of her amazing gifts as an artist. Sometimes a tragedy is what it takes to push an artist's work from a career into a legend, and dying at 63 at the peak of your art making prowess certainly qualifies as a tragedy to us. My daughter in law Carri says Janice is the Frida Kahlo of the United States, and I sure as hell agree with her. Time will tell if the rest of the world will come to the same conclusion. Yes, time will tell.

The picture in the sunglasses was taken on August 23, 2009 when her bother and sisters were visiting us. The other one was taken on September 6, 2009 and is the last portrait of Janice and I together. Fittingly, she looks a lot more composed and put together than I do.


  1. I just got back from a week's vacation and thought I would tell Janice that Hilary and I visited the Smithsonian and asked about her work. They did have her in the files but did not have her work on display. I told the curator that if at all possible they should show her journals as they were amazing. He said he would let the powers to be know.

    When I read this blog today, my heart fell and I am sitting at my desk in tears. I had prayed that Janice would be a miracle and beat this and when Jon let me know that nothing could be done, I prayed that she would not suffer. I will continue to pray that you all will find peace as she did.
    With deepest sympathy,
    Cathy Sosa

  2. Jon et al., thank you taking the time…

    "Home, home again.
    I like to be here when I can.
    When I come home cold and tired
    It's good to warm my bones beside the fire.
    Far away across the field
    The tolling of the iron bell
    Calls the faithful to their knees
    To hear the softly spoken magic spells."

    Metatron (Hebrew מטטרון or מיטטרון) is the name of an angel, he is the highest of the angels and serves as the celestial scribe.

    …And then the divine transformation took place. Additional wisdom and spiritual qualities caused Enoch's height and breadth to become equal to the height and breadth of the earth. God attached thirty-six wings to his body, and gave him three hundred and sixty-five eyes, each as bright as the sun. His body turned into celestial fire -- flesh, veins, bones, hair, all metamorphosed to glorious flame. Sparks emanated from him, and storms, whirlwind, and thunder encircled his form. The angels dressed him in magnificent garments, including a crown, and arranged his throne. A heavenly herald proclaimed that from then on his name would no longer be Enoch, but Metatron…

    Warmest Regards,


  3. Jon,
    My heart goes out to you and your family. The photos and stories posted show that Janice’s spirit shined to the end. And it continues to live in the amazing art she left behind.
    I remember Janice traveled with us to a conference, which I believe was in Mexico. I sat with her a lunch and she talked about meditating, having a massage, writing in her journal and her art. She was so happy and content, so connected to her spirit. I remember (jealously) thinking that she was creating life, as I went on to the next lecture about creating ads. I can’t help but smile when I think about her warm spirit.
    I pray for you and your family that all the joy, happiness and love that you shared with Janice will fill your heart and help you through this time.
    With deep sympathy,
    Anne Russell

  4. Jon,
    My heart goes out to your and your family. You will continue to be in my heart and mind, and I send you thoughts of healing and strength.

    All my love and support,


  5. Dear Jon and family -
    I am just so sorry for the emptiness that Janice leaves in your heart and in your life, but happy that you had her as your soulmate for this long.
    I am in awe of the strength you have.
    I am thankful that she had such acceptance and was surrounded by so much love and support.
    I am grateful to have known her and for the insight and inspiration she brought to our family and everyone who knew her.

    Marcia Lee

    “I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge -- myth is more potent than history -- dreams are more powerful than facts -- hope always triumphs over experience -- laughter is the cure for grief -- love is stronger than death.” - Robert Fulghum

  6. Jon,

    We are so sorry to hear the news - you are right, it is truly a tragedy. Every now and then Caryn and I will talk about spending time with you both at the Taller San Jose dinner, and how much fun Janice was having with her new camera. She was able to take a simple moment and make it into a lasting memory.

    In the South we surround those we love with delicious comfort food during times like this. I'll call my mom for a recipe today.

    Take care.

    - Steve

  7. Jon..we all loved Janice. Peace be with you. Gil

  8. I am so very truly and deeply sorry for your great loss. I never met Janice, but have been a huge admirer of her work since I saw it several years ago. She's left an amazing legacy, but also a large hole now in the art community. She will be very, very much missed.

  9. I only just recently learned about Janice on the PBS show she was on. I am so sad that she is gone, partly because I wanted to experience her artwork and watch her and mostly because we need all the good people we can get in this world. I am so sorry for your loss. I hope she and the cowboy are dancing.

  10. Jon,

    I was hoping to never have to see this post...I am so sorry for your loss and yet I feel so happy for Janice that she was surrounded by SO MUCH LOVE in her life and that all of her loved ones were able to share in her transition in such a deep and personal way. You will all share that for the rest of your lives and it is beautiful.

    Janice always had a smile and interesting things to talk about. Even her choice of music at the end makes me smile. I will never listen to Breathe in the same way again. It will always remind me of her unflappable spirit.

    my thoughts are with you, Brandon, Kevin and Brent and the rest of your family


  11. This morning as I read of Janice's passing I was consumed with such sadness. I am so sorry for your loss I can only hope in the days that follow you are all encompassed by the amazing love you share.

    Janice was a gift to the world; her legacy will forever imprint itself in our minds as well as those learning of her brilliance for the first time. I will forever regret missing the opportunity to meet her.

    You are all in my thoughts and prayers.


  12. Thank you Jon for taking the time to let us know about Janice's passing. I am still numb reading your blog. Janice was a ray of light...that is how I remember her today.

    She was one of my first customers when I started my business, and she blew me away the moment I met here.

    Thank you for your strength and courage in putting together this blog and sharing such intimate moments.

    Bless you. Roxana

  13. I am sending you my love, prayers,and good wishes along with healing strength. It was one of Janice's articles for Somerset long ago that sped me on the journey into visual journals. I'll never forget her kindness in answering a comment left for her. She lives in everyone who journals.

  14. Although I never met Janice, I am an admirer of her beautiful work. Rest in peace.

  15. Dignity and Grace. Blessings to you Jon, all the family and Katy Jo. Patty

  16. Thank you, Jon. Janice was my mentor and friend. And she was always there with a "yes." I will miss her. Thank you for helping us have our last visit together. Thank you for everything.
    With love and respect,
    (and Gerardo, Monica & Andrew)

  17. Dear Jon, family & friends who loved Janice,
    I am so deeply touched by Janice's life, her work and her passing. I hold you all in my heart, and (if I may without lessening any of it) I share your tears. Somewhere I have a small drawing, a self-portrait I think, that Janice did while we were students at Art Center. When I find it I will post it. Thanks so much again & again for sharing this journey. Love Is.
    Diane Teske Harris

  18. For a long time Janice to me was simply the red headed woman who was always happy and always smiling at all the AMIN conferences I attended with Dave. I think it was in Ireland that I felt like I really got to know her, and then sadly, again in San Diego just weeks after her initial diagnosis. I don't know her as an artist, I only know her as someone who exuded happiness and warmth; and someone who absolutely amazed me with her humor and courage at the end. Jon, your post made me weep. Love Gail Newbold

  19. Jon - Janice will always be alive in the hearts of those who knew her. You couldn't help but be infected by her spirit and love of life. You and Janice have a love that I think rarely exists outside of fairy tales, and it's so evident here. Much love and prayers to you

  20. Since I can't find words good enough to say what I feel... here's a link to beautiful Sarah Harmer song that maybe gets a little closer:
    Much love, Joe & Catherine

  21. We send our love to you all. Knowing janice was a gift. We feel do lucky to have been able to know her.

  22. Jon,

    your strength and love for your wife is so inspiring, I think you were the are now forever my cowboy, I will think of you and Janice in times that need strength and I WILL draw inspiration.

  23. Dear Jon,

    There are no words to adequately express the profound sadness and the deep sense of loss that we are all feeling. If I had it in my power to take away the shock and the grief that you and the boys are feeling I would wave a magic wand and do so immediately.

    Janice was always a beacon of joy, love and a great inspiration to me and to everyone whose life she touched. I shall miss and love her always.

    The enormous void of her passing will eventually be replaced by her beautiful spirit and I believe it will fill you up and carry you all the days of your life.

    Maya Angelou was delivering a eulogy and something she said made me catch my breath.."the day you died, the stars went out and the moon disappeared..." But I believe there is now a newly radiant star ––

    "And a huge star is standing between the trunks of two trees
    So tranquilly promising the fulfillment of dreams"

    My love and thoughts are with you and the boys.


  24. jon and family
    with my deepest felt sorrow I want you to know that with ever once of my being .I am truly sorry for your loss!!
    I have lite inscence for janice everyday since i heard of her sickness
    I will continue to burn inscence for 20 days
    at that time I would like to give your family the ashes and you can do what you see fit
    Please know the Amida Buddha has shone his light for janice to follow she is not alone
    deepest gassho

  25. Dear Jon and Family,

    Our deepest sympathies and so sorry for your tremendous loss.

    It is fitting you share the story about the Big Cowboy in the Sky in Janice's Blog.

    We Peanut, minus One Nut ( Jon), were playing music at Woody's Wigwam on Sunday afternoon and, as fate would have it, we were singing "Happy Trails" at the time she had passed through to the Next Stop on her Journey.

    Happy trails to You, until we meet again;

    Happy trails to You, keep smiling until then;

    Happy trails to You, 'til we meet again.

    Adios Little Cowgirl, we know you are in Good Hands,


  26. Jon,

    If it is true that we all have a purpose on this Earth, and I believe it is, there is no doubt in my mind that Janice fulfilled hers completely. I just wish she could have stayed longer.

    My love and thoughts are with you and the Ryan clan is praying for your comfort and peace. I am profoundly sorry.


  27. Janice was such an amazing influence to so many people. I feel so lucky to have met her.

  28. I am very sorry to hear of the passing of Janice as she gave so much to us and her art and life will go on but I know it doesn't make things easier as you grieve her loss in your lives.

  29. My love and thoughts to you all.

  30. Jon and family ~ so sorry to learn this news. We wrap our arms around you and thank you for sharing here. You have offered a gift by letting us in so that we may *see* her beyond what we know of her tremendous body of work. I never had the pleasure of meeting her but in looking through these pages I am thrilled to see you both in Scotland. Hoping those treasured memories begin to fill the emptiness you feel.

  31. Jon:

    Marilynn and I are so deeply saddened. Words are inadequate. Janice brought sunshine with her, wherever she went. In our hearts, that light is still as bright as ever. And we believe that same light shines within every person that Janice ever touched.

    Joe & Marilynn Norris

  32. Jon:
    What a blessing it was getting to know Janice while she was at Cypress College. She was my favorite instructor (you were my 2nd favorite :o)) - always happy and upbeat. She was truly inspiring.

    My condolescences to you and your family.

    Monica Puig

  33. Jon,
    I am so very sorry to hear about your loss -- wish I could find the right words to express my sorrow. I've never met Janice -- only recently got to know you, in fact -- but she sounds like an amazing and talented woman. Roger and my thoughts are with you and your family with hopes that all your wonderful memories of time spent with Janice will be a comfort to you.
    Leigh (& Roger) Billingsley

  34. I did not know Janice at all. I’ve never visited her blog, or seen any of her art…but when I read your message about Janice’s passing I was crying by the time I got to the second paragraph. I feel so connected to her spirit and feel I’ll miss her as if she was a girlfriend of mine that I loved. As artists, as women as human beings we truly are all connected, aren’t we?
    I will remember her.
    Peace to you and your family.

  35. What a lovely tribute to your lovely wife! Her legacy will live on in the beauty of her work! Wishing the best to your entire family!

  36. Jon, Mike and I are thinking about you an your family every day. I wear the earings Janice gave me and love them. She always had such amazing style. I watch the video that Acorn made of Janice and love it so much. I am so happy that was made and we have that. I hope you will call on us if you need anything. Everyone on the board send you their heart felt regards and are so sad about this. Janis will be remembered and we love you both.

  37. Hi Jon,
    Roger and I are so sorry to hear of Janice's passing. We were recently talking about her and one of the art projects she used to assign her students at Cypress College. She would give them all a small bag with an odd assortment of objects and tell them the bag was like life. Every bag is different and you don't know what's in it, but it is your job to make the best art you can from it. It seems she followed her own wisdom beautifully.

    I also want to tell you that the current exhibition at Coastline College, "Figure It Out," is including a small memorial to Janice by displaying one of her works from Jay Sagen's collection.

    Take care of yourself, Jon,
    Betty and Roger

  38. dear husband of Janice,

    I just read about her death on the blog of Michelle Ward... her name spoke to me, but I just couldn't figure out immediately how I knew her.

    Then Michelle mentioned her journals and then I knew !
    Strang, but I told this morning to my 69 years old mom about an artist and her journals and that they were now in a museum... I just didn't knew anymore what her name was and promised to look it up in the publications of Stampington...

    so, yes, even here in Belgium we know and will know her artwork and I'll tell about her so more people get to know her.
    It's really sad she died and mostly for you all as relatives, but she will live on.

    She "moved a stone in the river and now the river will never take the same path again"...

    Strenght and XO from Belgium

  39. Jon...I can't express how sad I am for you and your family. I can only imagine the loss. Please accept my heartfelt sadness and prayers

    tom jordan

  40. Jon,
    I just recently heard about Janice's condition. Now this. The fond memories of you and her together will always be with me. Her loss is truly great.


  41. Life is a shared experience.
    Death is the one thing we all have in common.
    The opportunity to love is what unifies us in this physical world, and love continues to connect us when this world comes to an end. It is that eternal love we are carrying in our hearts when we remember Janice and her sweet spirit.
    There is no death, there is only the other side of life.

    Jon, your kindness and grace are testament to the love you share with your beautiful family and friends.
    Our love always,
    Joseph & Chela

  42. Dearest Jon, family and precious friends of Janice,
    I haven't been able to find words to express our sorrow. Meeting and knowing Janice.. I think you at once knew that you were privileged to know someone beyond extraordinary. Jon, you speak of a hole in your hearts...I think, in time, it will fill up with the gifts of your shared lives. In the hearts of those of us who were lucky enough to have shared even just a little time with her, she will always be a source of inspiration and joy. Thank you so much, Jon, for having let us share this time with you.
    Barbara and Jean-Francois

  43. Jon,
    I just popped over to Janice's blog to see how she was doing and read of her passing. I am truly saddened for you and her boys. I first met Janice through my work at Somerset Studio. I was amazed and humbled by her journals and stunning assemblage artwork. When a few of us decided to start a round robin journal project we put together our dream team of artists and Janice was at the top. We never imagined she would say yes. To our thrill and amazement she did say yes and through the development of this project we all got to know Janice, her history and passion for her work. I feel so lucky to have a bit of Janice in my book.

    I have a niece who has been art journaling since she was 5. She is now 7 and I was proud to tell her I knew a great artist and lady who had her journals in the Smithsonian. I know she was impressed and I hope she was inspired. I know I will always be inspired by Janice.
    Love always,

  44. Dearest Jon, I need to take a moment & thank not only you but Janice...thank you, Janice!...for giving my daughter Nicole the most wonderful, loving, lively, endearing, playful & crazily like-minded family. For opening your hearts & lives & spirits to her when Brent brought her to all of you. For challenging her as siblings & parents would...thank you. I am forever grateful. Hopefully, Janice, I will be able to know you much better in your next adventure! Our time together was limited but I immediately sensed & experienced a greater spirit within your tiny frame! Nicole was absolutely right...she said I would like you & I love you! Here's to the next adventure, my friend! I will miss you!

  45. I am so sorry to hear that Janice has passed. She seemed like a truly beautiful soul from all the pictures and video. Although I only knew of her through Sommerset and others it is apparent she loved her life and her art.

    God Bless and keep you all.

  46. Jon,

    I am really sorry.

    You were very lucky to have found each other and the many wonderful
    and blessed years together.

    Karen Nugent

  47. Uncle Jon,
    Aunt Janice has always and will continue to inspire me in my love to create "Art". To draw and create & get lost in my imagination has and will continue to be a very peaceful place for me. My daughter Lauren also gets lost in her art...Aunt Janice will live on through the art of her family. My Dad was and still is so lucky to have had such an AMAZING sister. All My Love... Danell Lowry

  48. Jon:
    I am so sorry for your loss. I knew Janice first as a warm, funny, welcoming neighbor almost 20 years ago on French Street, with a youthful spirit and great curiosity about all things -- including the newspaper where I worked. When she then agreed to do several magnificent illustrations for the Register's Commentary section, I got to know her great talent as well. I learned how her warmth, sense of humor, curiosity and openness made her art come alive. I handed her some pretty dull political essays and she came back with often whimsical, but always revealing illustrations. Always amazed me. She was a peach.
    Matt Leone

  49. I did not know Janice personally, but since I became aware of her work late in 2008, I've been a big fan of her work.

    I just read about her transition on Facebook today, and was immediately saddened. The world is a less beautiful place now, because she is no longer in it.

    Thank you for this loving blog post. I know it must have been difficult for you to write -- hell, it was difficult for me to read -- but for some reason reading about her death experience was comforting to me.

    You and your family will be in my thoughts.

  50. Dear Jon and family,
    It took me several days to get up the courage to read this blog. I have such wonderful memories of Janice. Her robust laugh has been following me for the last couple of weeks. After seeing her the last time I walked around the house and touched all the things that Jancie had so generously given me over the years... You are so right when you say she leaves a huge void. She truly is one of a kind.
    I can't imagine how you are feeling. Your love for her, and the closeness you two had is inspirational.
    Our thoughts are with you and your family.

  51. Jon,

    i am so sorry to hear this news. Janice was a strong and positive influence to many, including myself.

    i feel blessed that her path crossed through my life; she always brought joy and happiness with her. she will be sorely missed. God's speed.

    with blessings to you and your family,

    keith chambers

  52. Dearest Jon:

    I am so saddend to hear this news and just can't immagine how you and your family must be feeling. Sometimes in your life you meet people that just make a huge impact on you...they give you a special feeling and that is what I had with Janice. Also the engery between the two of you was special. Every day I am thinking about Janice when I am outside on my patio and look at the beautiful Lantern she gave me. I have been burning a candle in it every night. You are all in my heart and thoughts.
    with love,
    Tanya Weeks

  53. dear jon,
    my heart aches for you & the loss of your beautiful wife. the depth of your love for her is such a testament to the life that you made together.
    i did not realize what an amazing artist she was--such a legacy!
    you and your family are in my thoughts & prayers.
    debbie (holliday) hudson

  54. Jon - so sorry for your personal loss and so sorry for the loss to the world - I am so grateful that Janice's work will live forever at the museum - her work is inspiring and I am grateful to have "known" her thru cyberspace - my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family - many blessings - Reva (Los Angeles)

  55. Just saw the news in my November Smithsonian. I have an article from several years ago done on her, your and one of your sons journals from a trip to Italy that I tore out of a magazine (to keep for inspiration).
    I am very sorry for your loss.

  56. My friends and I admired Janice's work very much and I was honored to have her use some of my rubber stamps in her paper arts. I purchased a scarf at Folk Tree Gallery several years ago and was pleased to learn that it was one of Janice's, so it is especially treasured now. Having just been diagnosed with breast cancer myself, I am experiencing the outpouring of love and support that your family and Janice must have received from the art community, friends and family and I'm sure that support and love was very gratifying for you. I am very saddened by her death and extend my sympathies to you. She has left a personal and creative legacy for us all and she was a lovely person. It sounds as if she faced cancer on her own terms with an upbeat attitude the way she handled everything else in her life -- Elaine Madrid

  57. My father told me today of your wife's passing. I am so sad to hear of this news. I stumbled upon Janice Lowry and her work in the beginning of 2009, along with an article explaining that she had a life's worth of journals at the Smithsonian. I was so interested, fascinated, excited and impressed. I am 34 years old and have been keeping art journals on and off since I was 6. I immediately put "Travel to the Smithsonian to see Janice Lowry's journals" on my 100 Things to Do list. I told my father who is a life long artist and art teacher about Janice as well. We both learned more about her on the internet and thought she was a pretty swell lady. This week, my father will be travelling to Washington to the Smithsonian and wanted to research how to view Janice's journals. He has a friend who is a curator at one of the Smithsonian museums and wanted her to find a way for my father to go and see her work. Upon investigating further into this matter we learned of her passing.

    Although I never met Janice Lowry, she has inspired me tremendously. Since learning of her work, I have reconnected with my love of art, journals and writing. On Dec 31st of 2009 I happily completed the last journal entry of my third journal of the year. I owe that in part to Janice. It seems as though her life was richly lived and serves as an inspiration to others (even far away strangers). I still hope to one day to see her work in person.

    Much Love to you and your family,


  58. Jon
    I can't believe the first news I have heard of you two in so many years is this post of Janice's death. I am so sad and so very sad for you. I know how much in love you two have been for all these years. I can still hear Janice's explosive laugh and have thought of you both often over all these years. I can only imagine all the wonderful people she has loved and admired over her life and how much fun they will all have getting to know her now.
    So sorry and my love to you.
    Katherine Huntoon

  59. we were buddies at art center 76/79