Janice Augustin, 86

Published 5:28 pm Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Janice Augustin, 86

Janice Augustin (Thoe) died on Wednesday, Feb. 8, during a brief hospital stay and with family at her bedside. She was 86 years old.

Janice grew up on a farm near Oslo, Minn. She was the daughter of Knut and Ella (Wilson) Thoe, the youngest in a family of eight children. Growing up in a houseful of kids and with a mom who liked to entertain and bake ensured that the Thoe farm was the place to be for neighborhood kids after school and on weekends. Stories of Janice’s childhood were happy ones.

She went to a country school through eighth grade and attended high school in Hayfield, Minn., where she was a good student, band majorette and spelling bee champ – a superpower that years of Alzheimer’s disease couldn’t touch. Janice attended some college at Mankato State but left when her roommate did. She took an office job in Owatonna and later moved to Austin.

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Janice met John Augustin shortly after he returned from Korea, where he was a corporal in the Army. Friends of friends, they said “hi” one evening, and John was at her door the next day and every day after. Janice put John through barber school, and they married in 1956 when he graduated.

John and Janice had four children – JoAnn, Scott, Wayne and Steven (deceased) – in Austin. The family loved to travel – long road trips, pulling their camper across deserts, over mountains and through forests. John and Janice had parents and siblings in and near Austin, and the families were close. They both loved to entertain – their annual New Year’s Day Tom & Jerry open house was legendary. The two were active at Holy Cross Lutheran Church.

Janice worked at Hormel in Accounts Receivable; it was a hard job, but she enjoyed the work and her co-workers. She and John retired together in 2001. Since the day they were married, they had been an inseparable team, but for the next 10 or so years, they spent long stretches together, side by side in their Winnebago, hitting state and national parks, visiting old friends, and documenting their grand adventure with a heartbreakingly bad camera.

They always looked back at their Great American Road Trip as a dream come true, and to her last day, Janice couldn’t get over the friendliness of the fellow campers they met during their vagabond years.

John and Janice moved to Hudson, Wis., when they were in their 70s to be closer to family, first in a town house, and then at Christian Community Home. They were happy there for years, exploring all the available living options of the long-term care facility and making friends. They lived in gratitude and looked back fondly at well-lived lives.

Janice was never meant to be alone, and when John died six months ago, she was ready to join him. In her last words spoken in this life, she told her nurse the story about how she and John had met.

Janice is survived by her sister, Betty Hayes of Chino Hills, Calif.; her three children, JoAnn (Brad), Scott (Colleen) and Wayne (Kiki); seven grandchildren, Travis (Britt), Kyla, Katie (Madeline), Grace, John, Joey (Kaylie) and Hattie; and a sister-in-law, Janet (Dalvin Augustin). She was preceded in death by her husband, John; son Steven; parents, Knut and Ella; and six brothers and sisters, Sterling (Jane), Blanche (Donald) Haugland, Esther Thoe, Verlyn, Delmont and Earl.

A funeral for Janice will be held at Worlein Funeral Home in Austin on Saturday, Feb. 18 at 10:30 am, with a visitation at 10:00 am. The interment will be at Grandview Memorial Gardens.

Janice’s family would like to thank family members, who were such important parts of her life. Thanks also to friends, and especially old friends, CCH staff, and the medical folks who kept both her and John going for more than 65 years of marriage. Thanks also to the hundreds of gallivanters, wanderers and pilgrims who exchanged pleasantries, steered them to interesting local sites, or were otherwise part of their adventure together.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to a charity of your choosing or to the Christian Community Home Foundation – https://cch-hudson.org/support-us/foundation/. Please note “Janice Augustin Memorial.”

Worlein Funeral Home of Austin is assisting the family with arrangements. Condolences may be expressed to the family online at www.worlein.com.