Janice Lynn Richards, age 74, passed away Wednesday, May 31, 2023, at her home.
Visitation will be held from 5-7pm, Monday, June 5, 2023, at Northview North Mankato Mortuary, 2060 Commerce Drive, North Mankato, MN 56003. A prayer service led by Chaplain Alan Hairsine will begin at 7pm.
Memorials are preferred to Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance (www.ocrahope.org).
Jan was born April 12, 1949, in Janesville, WI, to John and Ilene (Zebell) Kerr. Her parents instilled Jan’s skills as an accomplished seamstress, knitter, and loom weaver. She graduated from high school in 1967. On August 14, 1971, she was united in marriage to David Richards in Janesville, WI. And they began their journey as friends, lovers, sole mates, and partners in all their adventures. Jan is and always will be the love of Dave’s life. Jan earned a bachelor’s degree in 1971 from Whitewater State University and a master’s degree in special education from Mankato State University in 1996. She taught middle school in Jefferson, WI, Des Moines, IA, and Wausau, WI. In 1977, she and Dave relocated to Mankato, and she began teaching at Mankato West High School and later Dakota Meadows Middle School. Jan was passionate about teaching and inspiring young minds. She was dedicated to student growth and committed to the students’ discovery of their potential.
Jan and Dave were involved with dog sledding and dog sports for many years. Jan helped many female mushers compete in the John Beargrease Dog Sled Race for many years along with the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race (Iditarod). Jan was an active member of Key City Kennel Club (KCKC) serving as a past president, agility trainer, trial secretary for agility and scent work along with many other positions. She was in the first group of KCKC dog trainers who started the Agility Program in Mankato. Her “super dog” Shiela earned multiple Agility championships and competed multiple times at the Agility Invitational. Jan was an accomplished dog handler as a musher, in agility, and scent work. As a partner with “Tex” they accomplished Scent Work Elite titles in Novice, Advanced, and Excellent. Her dedication to canine companions and teaching were often combined as her co-workers incorporated her participation in the Iditarod into Math, Geography and English class lessons.
Jan and Dave also loved traveling and have visited the South Island in New Zealand, Australia, Tanzania, Cuba, Alaska, Hawaii, Morocco, Canary Islands, and various cruises.
Jan is survived by her loving husband, Dave; 1 brother; 2 sisters; nieces and nephews; and many friends and colleagues.