Funeral services for James Janak, age 71, of Niobrara, Nebraska will be 11:00 a.m. Thursday, November 17, 2016, at Presbyterian Church in Niobrara. Reverend Martha Atkins will be officiant, with burial in L’Eau Qui Court Cemetery in Niobrara.
Visitation will be Wednesday from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at Brockhaus Funeral Home in Niobrara.
James Robert Janak, son of Tillie (Svatos) and Joseph B. Janak, died at Avera McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls, South Dakota early Sunday morning November 13, 2016.
He was born at Orchard, Nebraska on September 19, 1945. He grew up on the family farm northwest of Verdigre and attended the Jelen School near his home. When he wasn’t getting into mischief with his cousin Ed, he was trapping and hunting, looking for food for his family. As he grew older, he began working for the neighborhood farmers, hard work with little pay but good meals. Later, while attending Verdigre high school, he began working at the Verdigre Creamery and Locker, where he learned to make bologna and drove truck to pick up cream in South Dakota. He put in many long hours there. After graduating in 1964, he enlisted in the service. His first choice was the Air Force but when he discovered that he was too tall to fly, he joined the Army National Guard so that he could continue to help his family. He trained for going to Vietnam but President Johnson decided that it was more important to keep the soldiers home to help in their own state. One of these things was in Omaha for riot control, both racial and war protest.
He began working at Farnik’s Market in Niobrara as a meat cutter. In April, 1967, he married Nancy Nielsen and they lived in Niobrara. He began to help Nancy’s dad on his farm and eventually he quit the store and purchased farm land to farm full time, along with trapping to supplement their income. In 1974, when the town was moving, Jim and Nancy and their young daughter Niela moved to the house that they built and continued to live in on “Lenger Hill” south west of Niobrara. He raised a variety of crops and pigs and cattle. Soon after the move, a son, Jay was born. Jim was an assistant to Police Chief Paul Cash for several years. He also cleaned pheasants for his neighbors at Swanson’s Hunting Acres. In his spare time he liked to hunt and fish and enjoy the air boat that he built. He enjoyed telling stories of his adventures, both scary and humorous. He was also interested in the weather and became good with his predictions.
In late 2012 his health began to fail and in February of 2013 he was hospitalized with complications due to diabetes which caused kidney and liver failure. He was put into hospice in April and released in July because his health kept improving after returning home. Later he was diagnosed with cancer. Although he was unable to do many things, he did not hurt or feel sick. He often checked his land and crops and visited his children’s dogs. He enjoyed and was very proud of his children and grandchildren. The past four years have felt very short but he was able to enjoy many things during that time. He gained a daughter in law and two grand-daughters, saw a grandson graduate from high school, join the army, go to Afghanistan and return, saw a granddaughter graduate from college and become a teacher, saw another granddaughter graduate from high school with honors although she struggles with a long term illness and another grandson grow into manhood with many of his interests. He was given unexpected time on earth and he enjoyed it and he, and his family, was thankful for it.
He is survived by his wife Nancy, daughter Niela and her husband Brian Stark, their children Marissa, a teacher, Tyrel, stationed at Fort Carson, Colorado, Hannah, a student at Northeast Community College of Norfolk and Bryce, a junior at Niobrara High School and son Jay and his wife Lisa, their daughters Tessa, a 4th grade student at Niobrara Elementary School and Lilly, who is 2 and stays home to help her parents, his mother Tillie, of Alpine Village in Verdigre, sister Irene and her husband Carl Kamphaus of O’Neill, sister Darlene of Center and many relatives and friends.
He was preceded in death by his father and grandparents.