Janice O Gerdemann, August 17, 1925 - September 4, 2020

Janice (Olbrich) Gerdemann, 95 passed away on September 4th at Quail Run in Albany, Oregon.

Janice was born in1925 in East St. Louis, Illinois, the oldest child of Fred and Nell Olbrich with two younger brothers, Robert, and Jim. After graduating from East St. Louis High School in the middle of WWII, she earned a degree in Economics, summa cum laude, from the University of Illinois. Her first job was in marketing with Procter & Gamble in Ohio, which included the opportunity to make a trip to California. This was the beginning of a lifelong interest in travel. 

Janice left Procter & Gamble to return to the University of Illinois to pursue a master’s degree in business economics and while there she met and married James Gerdemann. Together they had three sons: Stephen, Dale, and Glenn. Janice and sons accompanied husband Jim, a professor at the University, on two sabbaticals. First, the whole family toured Europe before living in Scotland, and then traveled home on the maiden voyage of the passenger ship, The France. The second sabbatical was in Corvallis, Oregon. Janice and her husband loved travel; when they had a young family, there were family cross country camping trips often from Illinois to Oregon and later they explored more exotic places like South Africa, New Zealand, the Faroe Islands and Greenland. They lived in Urbana, Illinois until husband Jim's retirement in 1980 when they moved to Yachats, Oregon. Janice hated to leave her friends in Urbana, but soon found new friends and became an active member of the Yachats community. She assisted her husband Jim in creating and caring for their large garden, later to become the Gerdemann Botanic Preserve. Janice was an environmentalist and actively worked to save the 804 Trail along the Yachats coastline. Janice was active in the League of Women Voters, the Unitarian Universalist Church, and hosting friends, family, and plant enthusiasts who traveled to Yachats.

A few years after husband Jim’s death in 2008, Janice moved to Quail Run in Albany, Oregon, but she still visited Yachats to see the Garden, visit old friends and attend League of Women Voters meetings. Janice left a legacy of preserving the 804 Trail for everyone and was a partner in developing the Gerdemann Botanic Preserve which is open to the public.

Janice was preceded in death by her parents Fred & Nell Olbrich and brother Robert Olbrich. She is survived by brother Jim in Pullman, Washington, sons Steve in Albany, Oregon, Dale in Tübingen, Germany, and Glenn in Champaign, Illinois. Janice loved and enjoyed her five grandchildren: Ben (Lisbon, Portugal), Alex (Austin, Texas), Stella (Leipzig, Germany), Greta (Berlin, Germany), Myra (Portland, Oregon), and two great-grandsons, Tomoki, and Kai (Lisbon, Portugal).

 Contributions on Janice’s behalf can be made to the Gerdemann Botanic Preserve on the  View the Future website.



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