Janet (Jan) Marie (Gent) Sullivan, 61, passed away at St. Luke's Hospice of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Feb. 21, 2018, from a glioblastoma brain tumor and many complications. She passed away peacefully, with her family at her side. The family wishes to thank the staff at St. Luke's Hospice. They are a very special group of individuals.
Jan was born in Sigourney, Iowa, on April 14, 1956, to Raymond and Donna
Gent. Jan came into this world with a neuroblastoma tumor, and the subsequent surgery and cobalt radiation that saved her life caused her problems the rest of her life. In addition, she battled two other cancerous tumors and a radiation tumor. Through it all, she never lost her sense of humor, her determination, her love of God, the love for her family, or her care for her fellow man.
Jan grew up on a farm near South English, Iowa. She never shied away from work, but sometimes she was just limited by what she could physically do, although it never bothered her when it came to snowmobiling or flying in her Grandpa Sorden's airplane, or fishing in Canada.
Jan graduated from English Valleys High School and attended Mount Mercy College. At Mount Mercy, Jan met an Irishman and liked him better than college. They were married in 1975.
Jan always knew that she liked helping people. She started her career working for various insurance companies, at the corporate level, in customer service. She worked for Life Investors, Pioneer Insurance and Church Mutual Insurance, and was office manager for AAL in Wausau, Wis., and Aegon.
While in Wisconsin, Jan also acted as moderator for the Wisconsin State Bar Association and its continuing education program. She was on the board of directors for the "Status of Women" in Merrill, Wis. She donated her time with United Cerebral Palsy of Wausau and wrote a successful grant for three-quarters of a million dollars for handicap vehicles. The last position Jan held was at a community college in Illinois. Students would come to Jan with their tuition payments and a million questions. It gave her great satisfaction knowing she could be of help to the students. They would stop her in stores and thank her for all of the help she had given them. That job lasted about 10 years. Jan always felt the student came first, but the college felt the students' money did. In addition, Jan found time to start a couple of business ventures and she was a fantastic cook. Friends would say Jan cooked from dirt, because nothing she made came out of a box.
Jan and husband Pat came back to Iowa a couple of years ago to return to their roots and be around family. Jan probably knew something was wrong, but didn't know what. Through Jan's three-month ordeal, she never stopped putting family and total strangers first, before herself.
Jan is survived by her husband, Patrick of 42 years of marriage; son, Kevin (Cara) of Cedar Rapids; granddaughters, Morrigan and Zoe; parents, Raymond and Donna Gent, South English; maternal grandmother, Dorothy Sorden, North English; brothers, Matt (Vicki), Cedar Rapids, and Charles (Trisha), South English; sisters, Celeste Gallager (Shawn) of Cedar Rapids and Annette Gent of La Crosse, Wis.; sister-in-law, Karen Gent of Minneapolis, Minn.; and nieces and nephews she loved with all her heart.
Jan was preceded in death by her paternal grandparents, Paul and Mary Gent; maternal grandfather, George Sorden; brothers, Nick and George; sister, Bernadette; and infant sister, Mellisa.
A funeral Mass will be held at 11 a.m on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018, at Holy Trinity Parish-St. Mary's Catholic Church in Keota, Iowa. Fr. Charles Fladung will officiate. Burial will be in St. Patrick's Little Creek Cemetery near Kinross, Iowa. Visitation will be Tuesday from 4 to 7 p.m. with a prayer and rosary service at 4 p.m. at Powell Funeral Home, Keota. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to either St. Jude Children's Hospital or St. Luke's Hospice.