Jan Lais Hostetler
Jan Lais Hostetler, of Warminster, PA, passed away peacefully on January 14, 2023. She was 88. Born in Beaver, PA, she was the daughter of G. James Lais and Kathryn Mitchell Lais.
Jan lived a long and full life. She was Jan, Mom, Mrs. Hostetler, Grandma Jan, and finally GG—a beloved sister, wife, mom, grandmother, and great grandmother; a much loved teacher; and a treasured friend.
She met her husband of 62 years, Wes Hostetler, at Ohio Wesleyan University. They were married days before she graduated with a business fashion degree and later began work as a department store fashion consultant. That first career was cut short when she left to raise the first of four children, but her sense of style was evident in everything she did.
Jan’s remarkable sociability led to her making good friends wherever she lived — and making connections that lasted a lifetime. She packed up, moved, taught, raised kids, or traveled with a spirit of practicality and gracious efficiency that she maintained her whole life. She had a dry wit that made her family and friends often chuckle. Her planning and organizational skills benefitted PTAs, book clubs, church groups, art organizations, and volunteer initiatives. She was a talented teacher, artist, and the consummate hostess. She loved animals and children, and they loved her. She was a class act and people enjoyed her company.
After early years in Cleveland, OH, Jan and Wes and their children moved to Yorktown Heights, NY, and then a few years later to Belgium. In Yorktown they formed the “Bridge Group” with dear friends who remain extended family to this day. While in Belgium, Jan managed life in a small Flemish village, making lifelong French and Flemish friends, and providing a home base to traveling friends.
Following the family’s return to the U.S. in 1973, they settled in South Salem, NY. At that point, Jan obtained her teaching certificate and Master’s degree. She began a 20+-year kindergarten and first grade teaching career, giving a solid start to hundreds of kids who benefitted from her common sense approach, and giving practical adult support through sensible parenting tips.
When Jan and Wes retired, they found a wonderful community in Hertford, North Carolina. Retirement allowed Jan time to enjoy her many interests and activities, as well as expand them. She and Wes traveled in the U.S. and Europe. She also became active with the Osprey Yacht Club, led groups at the Hertford United Methodist Church, volunteered at the local Food Bank, became a docent at the historic Newbold-White House in Hertford, contributed to the Perquimans Art League, and became a hooker (of rugs, that is).
Her most treasured times were with family, including Christmases and vacations with her sister Marilyn’s family, holidays and trips with her bridge group family, and gatherings and celebrations with her kids, then grandkids, and eventually great grands. She mastered FaceTime to keep up with all her family, though one would never accuse her of embracing technology.
Wes died in late 2018, and a year later Jan made the decision to move to Ann’s Choice in Warminster PA, returning to her home state. Despite the pandemic shutdown that followed, Jan managed to make new friends and reconnect with some NC friends who had made the move north as well. Her biggest blessing was her dear friend Richard Ross. They had many daily adventures together in her last years of life. Jan’s family is especially grateful for his friendship and the good care he took of Jan, particularly as her health declined.
Jan is survived by her sister Marilyn Irwin of Avon, OH; sister-in-law Kay Hostetler (Nancy Smith) of Glendale, CA; her four children, Kimberley (Bruce Rueben) of Fort Myers, FL, Jim (Liisa) of Thompson’s Station, TN, Susan of Nanuet, NY, and Stacey Hostetler Carter (Jimmy Carter) of Elkridge, MD; and her nephew Michael Irwin (Leslie) of Avon, OH. She is also survived by her loving grandchildren, Jamie Cullen (Chris Klepps), Kara Cullen, Christine Hostetler (Joel Phillips), Jenny Hostetler, Alex Hostetler (Courtney), Taylan Salvati, Thomas Carter, Wesley Carter, and four great-grandchildren, Connor and Liana Klepps, and Calvin and Reese Hostetler.
A Celebration of Life will be held in July. Memorial contributions may be made in Jan’s memory to the ASPCA (https://www.aspca.org/) or the Humane Society (https://www.humanesociety.org/), or to the Compassus Hospice Help Foundation (https://hhelpfoundation.org/).