Janice Louise (Birt) Harper – Obituary – Mahoning Valley


8 Oct 1943 – 8 Dec. 2021 (78 years)

BOARDMAN – Janice Louise (Birt) Harper, 78, died Wednesday, December 8 at the Hospice of the Valley Hospice House following a long and courageous battle with Parkinson’s disease.

She was born on October 8, 1943 in New Castle, daughter of Earl P. Johnson and Edna (Fox) Johnson.

She was a loving person, a wonderful wife, mother and grandmother, and she embodied her motto: “Live to Serve”.

Janice graduated from Slippery Rock University in 1965 with a degree in Teaching English.

She began her teaching career as an English teacher at George Washington Middle School in New Castle.

After moving to the Carlisle, Pennsylvania area, she taught in the Carlisle and Big Spring school districts. She obtained a master’s degree in guidance and counseling from Shippensburg State University.

Upon her return to this area in 1972, she was employed by the Mohawk School District as a guidance counselor, a job she held for 32 years before retiring in 2004.

She has been active in local, state and national educational associations, serving on numerous committees. Janice greatly appreciated her role as a counselor and provided help and assistance to many students and families.

Janice has always been a Presbyterian and a long-time member of the Presbyterian Church in Poland. She was an old ordinate having been elected twice to sit in session.

Janice has been a member of the ward life committee for over 30 years. She has also served on the church scholarship committee, nominating committee, mission committee, and Christian education committee, and helped teach confirmation classes.

Janice enjoyed many activities, especially arranging flowers and creating wreaths and other decorations, a number of which are on display throughout the community.

She was a member of the Youngstown Garden Forum and the Daphne Garden Club as well as the Friends of Boardman Library.

She also liked to play cards with friends, crochet and entertain at her house.

She was a kind and caring person who loved her family and will be sadly missed by her husband, Paul R. (Dick) Harper; sons Shannon S. Birt of Madison and William L. Birt Jr., of Mt. Gretna, Pennsylvania; grandchildren Jenna P. Birt and Jackson S. Birt; and many nieces and nephews.

In addition to her parents, Janice was predeceased by a younger brother, Gerald Wayne Johnson; one sister, Marian Elaine Kennedy (David); and an adoptive sister, Eleanor Martin Bozwak.

Family and friends will be received Tuesday (December 14) from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Cunningham Becker Funeral Home, 270 N. Main St., Poland and Wednesday (December 15) from 10 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. at the Poland Presbyterian Church , 2 Poland Manor, Poland. A funeral service will follow at 11 a.m. at the church with Dr. Paul Anderson as celebrant.

Her family would like to express their gratitude to Hospice of the Valley and Shepherd of the Valley Home Health Care Services for the kind and competent care provided to Janice during her illness, with special thanks to Sandy and Bethany. Plus, a thank you to Barb Burnside for her years of loving care towards Janice.

To send flowers to Janice’s family, visit our flower shop.

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