Janice G. (Whaley) Thielsen, 85, of Flandreau, SD, passed away of complications due to COVID-19 on Wednesday, November 4, 2020 at Riverview Healthcare Center.
Janice was born on the family homestead 9 ½ miles west of Flandreau, SD on March 31, 1935 to Cy and Blanch (Thomas) Whaley. The youngest of five children, Janice attended the Whaley Country School through the third grade. Her family then moved to Flandreau and she attended Spafford Grade School and Flandreau High School. She was the class treasurer her sophomore and junior years in high school, and president in her senior year. Janice also participated in National Forensic League, National Honor Society, All-State Chorus, one act plays, dramatics, debate, Declam and vocal. Janice was nominated for homecoming queen and was a librarian. During the summer months, she would sing with the high school band on the steps of the courthouse. After high school, Janice’s father wanted her to attend college; but she opted to marry her high school sweetheart, George Thielsen, on July 3, 1953 while he was on a 3-day pass during the Korean War. The two traveled to many places together while he served state side; and Janice lived with her parents when George was eventually deployed.
Janice worked at many jobs including a shoe factory, a dime store, two different banks, an attorney’s office, the ASCS office, and even a sporting goods store as a debt collector. Despite her many occupations, Janice’s most cherished role was raising and caring for her family. She was an excellent cook, and a loving mother and wife. When George returned from the war, Janice helped him to graduate from college and the two started a family. From then until her youngest child was a junior in high school, Janice was a stay-at-home mother who took care of the family sheep - an undertaking that earned her the nickname “Bo-peep”.
Janice was a member of the Legion Auxiliary, VFW Auxiliary, Disabled American Veterans and Daughters of the Nile. She was a Deacon in her church and active in the choir. Janice was an active member of Eastern Star, holding many offices in the local chapters; including Grand Ruth in the 1989 Grand Family. She enjoyed singing, visiting and playing cards with friends, and traveling to Branson, Missouri every year to see the shows. But her true love was being with her family. Janice spent as much time as she possibly could with her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, as well as her extended family. Janice cared for her family when they were sick no matter how far she needed to travel; and shared in their interests, activities and accomplishments.
Janice is survived by her sweetheart and husband of 67 years: George; her daughter: Sheri (Randy) Schauer; her sons: David (Joy) and Daniel (Kristy) Thielsen; six grandchildren: Josh (Danica) Schauer, Matt Schauer, Jesse (Holly Morton) Schauer, Kristin (Jake) Thielsen-Montero, Ben (Kelsea) Thielsen, and Allison (Cole) Thielsen-Potter; and two great granddaughters: Zeny and Jayla Schauer.
Janice was preceded in death by her parents; three brothers, Vernon, Marion and Kenneth Whaley; one sister Elaine Elhoff; grandson Philip Schauer; granddaughter Amber Schauer; great granddaughter Madison Schauer; father and mother-in-law Raymond and Gertrude (Cobb) Thielsen; sisters-in-law, Donna Whaley and Helen Whaley; and brothers-in-law, Ben Elhoff, Dale Thielsen and Howard Thielsen.
Private family funeral services will take place with livestream available to the public beginning at 2:00 pm on Wednesday, November 11, 2020 on the Skroch Funeral Chapel website (www.skrochfc.com). Pastor Amber Laffey will officiate. Burial will take place at Union Cemetery, Flandreau. Public visitation without family present will take place from 5:00 - 7:00 pm on Tuesday, November 10, 2020 at Skroch Funeral Chapel, Flandreau.
Memorials may be directed to Shriners International or the American Heart Association.