PERRYSBURG -- Janice Lorraine (George) Searle, 88, of Perrysburg died peacefully on April 6, 2014, at Hospice of Northwest Ohio in Perrysburg.
She passed into eternity the morning after her four sons sang her to sleep for the final time. A woman of deep religious conviction, she lived her life as an example of Christian love and service. She was born on a farm in rural Wood County on November 22, 1925, to Merritt and Bernice George. While still in grade school she learned from her mother how to play the piano, a talent she later developed to a high degree of proficiency. She graduated with honors from Jackson High School in Hoytville, Ohio, in 1943, then graduated magna cum laude in 1947 from Bowling Green State University with the highest GPA in the College of Education. Even though she majored in elementary education, she was selected over piano majors to be piano accompanist for the top choirs at BGSU.
While in college, Janice began dating a young man recently returned to the states from the war, and in June 1947, she married John C. Searle. For the next three years she taught school in Grand Rapids, Ohio, while John earned his degree from BGSU. Upon moving to Sidney, Ohio, she taught in the Sidney school system to help put her husband through graduate school. John entered the ministry and together they served five churches in 42 years: four years at Webster EUB (Wood County), four years at Memorial EUB in Sidney, 11 years at First EUB in Marion, eight years at Trinity United Methodist in Bowling Green, nine years at First United Methodist in Sylvania, as well as six years as United Methodist district superintendent in Defiance.
During their years in Sidney and Marion, the couple had four sons, Steven, Scott, Michael and Martin. Once the boys all reached school age, Janice returned to teaching, serving as a substitute elementary teacher in Bowling Green and an elementary music teacher in Defiance. She was piano accompanist for the Sylvania Northview High School choir for many years, touring with them in Belgium. In each of her churches, Janice sang as a fine alto in the choir and served as substitute organist. In addition to her musical talents, Janice was also a gifted athlete, an avid reader, and a seamstress who made all her own clothes.
After her husband's retirement in 1988, the couple moved to Perrysburg, and for the next 25 years Janice again shared her gift of music with countless organizations. She would regularly accompany senior recitals for vocal music majors at BGSU, played for countless junior and senior high students at solo and ensemble contests, and was piano accompanist for numerous musicals at Defiance High School, Central Catholic High School, Springfield High School, Cardinal Stritch High School, and the Black Swamp Players in Bowling Green. For 20 years, she played piano for a local entertainment troupe, The Common Company. She composed many songs over the years, including an original operetta. She provided music programs for dozens of church and community group meetings, usually on her own, but sometimes with one or more sons. Having failed to come up with even one tenor out of the four, she wrote, arranged or transposed quartet music for her sons into bass-baritone range.
Janice was preceded in death by her sister, Betty; and grandson, Wyatt.
She is survived by her husband of nearly 67 years, John; sons, Steve (Alicia) Searle, Scott (Ann-Marie) Searle, Michael (Margaret) Searle, and Marty (Brenda) Searle; grandchildren, Christopher, Marisa, Morgan and Kenton Searle; siblings, Kermit George, Kenneth (Lauretta) George, and Vivian (Don) Hills; and many nieces and nephews.
Friends may call at Dunn Funeral Home, located in the historical district of Bowling Green at 408 West Wooster Street, from 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. Friday, April 11. A Celebration of Life for Janice will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 12, at First United Methodist Church, 1526 East Wooster Street in Bowling Green.
Those planning an expression of sympathy are asked to consider Hospice of Northwest Ohio. Online condolences can be made by visiting: www.dunnfuneralhome.com.