On November 26, 2019, Mary Jane “Janey” Waterhouse of Niles, Michigan passed away peacefully at her home at the age of 88 following an extended illness.
Janey was born on December 6, 1930 in Rockford, Illinois to Franklin N. and Fern E. (Maharry) Bell. She was raised in Rockford through the 8th grade, when she moved with her parents to Milwaukee. Janey graduated from Riverside High School in 1948, and then attended Oberlin College, where she met Bruce Leiter Waterhouse of Lorain, Ohio, who she would later marry. Janey graduated from Oberlin in June of 1952 with a degree in Sociology, and a minor in Musical Studies (harp).
Bruce and Janey married on August 23, 1952, and began their married life in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In March of 1956 they moved to Niles, where they lived the remainder of their lives and raised their five children. During Janey’s over 60 years as a resident of Niles, and as a woman of many interests, she contributed to the community in many ways, including as a harpist for the South Bend Symphony (16 years), and a harp teacher and solo performer. She was an active member of the Ladies Historical Society (50 years), an aide for gifted students at Niles High School, and a volunteer in the Niles City Clerk’s office (20 years). She and her husband, Bruce were charter members at Fernwood, and raised a Leader Dog. Janey also served on numerous local boards including the ‘old’ YMCA, Berrien County Cancer Service (serving under co-founders Olive Colcord and Dr. Kent Hassan), Berrien General Hospital, and Lakeland Hospital, and the Niles Park Board, where she vigorously lobbied for a dog park. She eventually contributed happily to the funding of the new dog park on Bond Street. In 1987, Janey mounted a spirited but ultimately unsuccessful campaign for Mayor, and more recently was honored by the City of Niles with a Certificate of Appreciation Award for years of dedicated volunteer service.
Two major influences on her life were having been raised in a musical home, and her six summers as a camper, and later a counselor at a small camp on the Bruce and Betty McClellan dairy farm, “Swiss Croft”, in Delavan, Wisconsin. She came to think of the McClellans as her second family. She and her husband, Bruce enjoyed dancing, playing bridge, tent camping with their family, and extensive travel experiences. However, nothing mattered more to them than their family and providing a safe, loving and supportive home life.
Janey was preceded in death by her husband, Bruce L. Waterhouse, Sr. after a remarkable 62 years of marriage. She was also preceded in death by her parents, and by her sister, Loraine Elizabeth Ross, and an infant brother. She is survived by her children: Wendy Waterhouse Harding of Niles; Bruce Leiter Waterhouse, Jr. (Sandy), of Solon, OH; Julie Ann Waterhouse, of Las Vegas, NV; Charles Nelson Waterhouse (Diane), of Ann Arbor, MI; and David Bell Waterhouse (Sheila) of Ann Arbor, MI; as well as 13 grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, and a cookbook full of cherished family recipes.
The family thanks the teams at Caring Circle Hospice, and Home Sweet Home for the wonderful and compassionate care of their mother.
The family of Janey Waterhouse will receive relatives and friends on Monday, December 2, 2019 from 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. at the Halbritter-Wickens Funeral Home, 615 East Main Street in Niles. Committal Services will be private, later, at Mission Hills with the Rev. Janet Van Lear officiating.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Janey Waterhouse, please visit our floral store.
Berrien County Cancer Services
3900 Hollywood Road, Saint Joseph MI 49085
Ruff 'n Tumble Dog Park
18 North Fourth Street, Niles MI 49120
Niles Summer Concert Series
P.O.Box 513, Niles MI 49120