Cover photo for Janet Marthaler's Obituary
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1941 Janet Marthaler 2024

Janet Marthaler

July 24, 1941 — February 27, 2024


Obituary written by Janet S. Marthaler.

To My Children and Grandchildren:

Hold on to what is good
even if it is
a handful of earth.
Hold on to what you believe
even if it is
a tree which stands by itself.
Hold on to what you must do
even if it is
a long way from here.
Hold on to life even when
it is easier letting go.
Hold on to my hand even when
I have gone away from you.

- Nancy Wood, Many Winters, 1974

To My Husband:

Together there is only one of us.

As you awake with morning’s hush,
I am the swift, up-flinging rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight,
I am the day transcending night.
Do not stand by my grave, and cry;
I am not there, I did not die.

- Clare Harner, Immortality, 1934

Janet Sharon Hiller was born to her parents, George Oliver Hiller and Dorothy Lee Robertson Hiller, at home in Alton, Illinois on July 24, 1941. Jan attended public schools in Alton, and received her BA in History with teaching certification at a branch of Southern Illinois University in Alton.  

During high school and college Jan worked with children at day camps sponsored by the Alton Recreation Department and performed secretarial work at the college she attended. After receiving her bachelor's degree, she was employed as a caseworker in Chicago for the Cook County Department of Public Aid, then as a social worker with the Poverty Program initiated by President Kennedy prior to his death.  She completed her masters degree at the University of Illinois Jane Addams School of Social Work and worked 24 years as a school social worker in Des Plaines School District 62. Jan retired in 2004 and volunteered at several organizations in the Evanston area.

Jan's passion was history. She met her husband of 54 years while protesting the Viet Nam War, and they traveled the U.S and Europe visiting Civil War Battle Sites and WW I & II historical sites, pondering a world where wars brought so much suffering. Other interests were gardening, reading, architecture, and music (from opera to Motown). She played several instruments, which she used in her work with children, as well as enjoying music with her own children and grandchildren.

Jan is survived by daughters Hannah Marthaler Ball (David Ball), and Kirsten O’Neill, son Lucas Marthaler (Jessica Czaplinski), grandchildren Juliana Ball, Conor Ball, and Maggie O’Neill, and sister Sherry O’Haugherty of Georgia. She was preceded in death by her husband Kent A. Marthaler and sisters Eileen Beneze of Arizona and Joy Zimmermann and Diana White of Alton, Illinois. A celebration of Jan and Kent's lives will take place in the spring.

                                      Arrangements entrusted to Chicagoland Cremation Options of Schiller Park, Illinois.

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