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Janice E. Harpest Priggie, 69, of Moline, Illinois passed away peacefully at home on Saturday, February 19, 2022. Please join her family in celebrating Janice’s life at calling hours, 4pm - 7pm on Friday, February 25th and 10am - 11am on Saturday, February 26th with a memorial service at 11am on Saturday, February 26th. Calling hours and service will be held at Trinity Lutheran Church, 1330 13th St, Moline, IL 61265.
Janice was born in Greenville, Ohio, on February 12, 1953 and was the third child of Lloyd and Mary Esther Harpest. She grew up on a dairy farm and maintained throughout her life a farmer’s reverence for nature, and a kinship with the land and all the earth's creatures. She fed the birds, made bouquets of wild roses and lingered at sunsets. She noticed the little details in nature that are often overlooked, such as the beauty of the wind blowing through the trees. She had a keen interest in the weather and on a daily basis checked the weather report where her closest family and friends lived. It was rare to have a conversation with Janice where the weather wasn’t mentioned.
Following her school years, Janice lived for a year in Sweden and Berlin, Germany. She then moved to Washington D.C. where she met Richard Priggie in Washington D.C. in 1974 through their advocacy work on U.S. food policy issues. They shared common values and commitments and enjoyed conversations with friends, and shows on NPR and PBS. Janice was an active companion in Richard’s pastoral ministry. They were married a week before Christmas in 1977, and were privileged to enjoy 44 years of marriage together. They were, in the truest sense, companions.
Janice was devoted to her three children and maintained a strong friendship with them into their adult years. As a parent she was non-critical and always supportive of her children, encouraging them to be themselves. She has inspired in all three a kind, loving spirit.
Janice was relentlessly positive, hopeful, optimistic, and upbeat. One left a conversation with Janice feeling heard and understood. Others’ failings and foibles were not to be dwelled upon but instead were opportunities for understanding and forgiveness.
Family and friends were always the foremost priority to Janice. Her brother often repeated “When Janice was born she brought laughter and light into the family.” Her niece observed, “Janice has always been the most joyful, gentle spirit.” Janice was a true and faithful friend. Indeed, she was the definition of friendship. One of her friends wrote, “Thank you for always being interested” and truly Janice was always interested in the details of her friends' lives and took time to listen with genuine curiosity.
Janice had a deeply spiritual attitude in which life was filled with grace moments and angels were all around. She drew religious meaning from a variety of sources, from the pastor’s Sunday sermon to the writings of Ekhart Tolle and Richard Rohr. When the Dalai Lama says “my religion is kindness” he is describing Janice’s core values.
Janice loved music. She took piano lessons from an early age and served for years as piano accompanist to the John Deere Middle School choirs. Over the years, she loved being involved in the hand bell choir at church and also sang in the choir.
On hearing of Janice’s death, her friend, Paul Kittlaus wote:
Her big eyes would light up the room.
Her laugh made us all burst out laughing.
Her caring was a source of warmth and healing.
She seemed naive and wise at the same time.
She was usually late.
She wanted us all to enjoy ourselves.
She always gave me the bowl with the most ice cream.
She was all one could ask for as a dear friend.
Her death leaves an empty place in each of us.
And we are grateful she inhabited that space for a long time.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Janice’s name to ELCA Good Gifts, which sends animals to third world farmers.
For more information please visit www.janiceharpest.com. Messages to the family may be sent to: email@example.com
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