Janet Wells Keyser Cumberland, courageous mother, passed on, January 11, 2020 in the loving presence of her immediate family after a 15-year battle with Huntington’s disease.
Jan had a great sense of humor and loved music, sports, plants, cooking and people. She started her career as an English teacher in Florida, but followed her passion to help others by completing a Master’s program at Duke University in the 70’s for guidance counseling. She spent the time remaining of her career working with high school students and troubled youth at John Umstead hospital in Butner. She touched lives daily as a strong advocate. Although not a dancer herself, Jan co-founded a skilled dance Drill team at Person County High School and was loved by her “girls.”
Jan was an avid sports enthusiast, cook, ice skater, water skier and tennis player. She was one of the iconic Florida Cypress Garden skiers in the 50’s and skied into her 60’s. Jan loved to talk and socialize and had a hug for everybody. Jan loved dogs (cats not so much) and always had one in her life since she was a small child in Ohio.
Music was a big part of her life – sharing her love of musicals with her children and grandchildren. She played her piano and organ joyfully. Jan was a long-time member of Saint Mark’s Episcopal church in Roxboro, where she was a member of the choir and occasionally played the organ – before attending St. Luke’s in her later years.
Jan raised three children on her own and was known to her children as a lioness protecting her cubs for whom she fought to the end.
Thank you to Dr. Scott and her medical team in the Neurological and Huntington’s Department at Duke, HD Reach, Brookdale Assisted Living of Chapel Hill for the loving care of mom and Heartland Hospice that helped her and her family make this transition at home.
She is survived by her brother Bob (Ann); and sister-in-law Nancy both of Bath, Ohio. Son, Fred (Leigh) of Raleigh; daughters Kathy (Pat) and Kim of Durham; grandchildren, Frankie (Chris) of Garner; Scott (Callie) of Snow Camp; Robb (Mary Morgan) of Chapel Hill and Nicky of Durham; two nieces, Sarah of Bath, Ohio and Mary (Chris) of Northville, Mich.; one great nephew David; two great nieces Kayla and Casie and a great grandchild, Emory of Snow Camp.
A funeral service will be conducted at 11 a.m., Friday, Jan. 17, at St. Luke’s Episcopal church on Hillandale Road in Durham. The family will receive friends at the church from 10-10:45 a.m. prior to the service.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations in memory of our mother to hdreach.org.
The Cumberland family is under the care of Hall-Wynne Funeral Service. Online condolences: www.hallwynne.com – select obituaries.