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Jannette Hageman placed her family at the center of her life, and she was the happiest when she was in their warm company. Jannette was always laughing and smiling. She was a cheerful, optimistic woman, and she tried each day to share her happiness with the many people she loved.
With a victorious end to the Second World War, thousands of young soldiers returned home to their civilian lives. The baby boom was quickly underway. In Augusta, Michigan, Robert and Annette Verwey were among the many expecting parents. On June 4, 1950 they were blessed with birth of their daughter Jannette. She was premature by four weeks and weighed just five pounds and four ounces. She was small enough to fit in the palm of her mother's hand!
The second of three children, Jannette grew up in Augusta with the company of her older brother Dirk and her younger sister Barb. They were each born within one year of each other, and they spent a lot of their free time together, riding bikes around the town or hanging out at the soda fountain in the drug store. On the weekends they liked to catch a movie at Park Theatre. Jannette's best friends were Melanie and Dawn, and she remained close with them throughout her life. When Jannette was eleven years old she first began to notice boys. She was very sociable and charismatic, and during junior high she was a proud member of the cheerleading squad. She went to Galesburg Augusta High School and graduated with the class of 1968. She was an active member in many business clubs, and she always attended the school dances.
Jannette was known for her work ethic. She began working during high school at WYYY Radio in Kalamazoo. She was good with numbers and worked as a bookkeeper for many years. Although she held several different jobs, she was consistently known for her dependability and strong work ethic.
During her senior year of high school, Jannette met a handsome young man named Richard Newton, who went to school in the neighboring town of Parchment. Their friendship soon grew into love, and they were married just one year after Jannette graduated from high school, on July 19, 1969.
Family meant the world to Jannette. She and Rick settled into the home on Pickerel Lake. Although Jannette was not much of a swimmer, she loved the peaceful setting and the boat rides on the lake. There were always dogs and cats around the house. This was the perfect place to raise a family, and they were soon blessed with the birth of their daughter Kari. Jannette remained as close as ever to her brother and sister, and she cared deeply for her nieces and nephews. The lake was the site of many family get-togethers. Jannette would usually serve her famous broccoli casserole, and in the evening the whole family would play a game of cards or Yahtzee. It was always a fun time, filled with laughter and family reminiscences.
Christmas was Jannette's favorite time of the year. She would wrap her presents with great care and precision, as if designing a work of art. After all the gifts were unwrapped, she would collect the bows to reuse the following year, which always gave the family a few good laughs. Christmas was not the only time of year for family. During the summertime Jannette, Kari and the extended family would travel to Wisconsin to visit relatives. At least once a year they planned an outing at Cedar Point, which was a good time for everyone.
Jannette was very talented at cross-stitching. She put a lot of time and effort into this hobby, and her designs were always elaborate and beautiful. She gave many of her pieces to her family and friends. Beyond crafts, Jannette retained a lifelong love for music and dancing. She loved Elvis Presley and she went to two of his concerts; the first was in South Bend and the second was at Wings Stadium in Kalamazoo where she had tickets in the seventh row.
After many memorable years together, Rick passed away in 1995. Jannette then married Brian Hageman, with whom she spent nearly ten years before divorcing. In July of 2004 Jannette was diagnosed with cancer. Despite her prognosis, she kept a positive outlook and was determined to beat the disease. She was "cancer free" for eleven months, until December of 2005.
Jannette will be remembered for her beautiful spirit and her gentle smile. She was a giving, caring woman who devoted her life to the many people that she loved. No matter the obstacles ahead of her, she always focused on the blessings in her life. Jannette's happiest days were her graduation, her marriage, and the births of her daughter and grandchildren. Among her family and many friends, Jannette will be greatly missed and frequently remembered.
Jannette died on Thursday, May 4, 2006 at home with her family at her bedside. Members of Jannette's family include her daughter Kari and her husband Jim Spicer, her mother Nan Verwey, sister Barb and her husband Bob Westworth, brother Dirk Verwey, 2 grandchildren: Kira and Jaci, several nieces, nephews and special friends Melanie Curtis, Dawn Carpenter and Jean Ptacek. She follows in death her father and her husband Rick Newton. Please visit Jannette's memory page at www.lifestorynet.com.
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