Born to Russell E. Beck and Elaine M. Kutzley Beck on January 7, 1942 in Hudson. Jan grew up on the family farm in Morenci.
She graduated from Morenci High School as Salutatorian, Class of 1960. Jan enrolled in Adrian College where she studied home economics education and met the love of her life Peter E. Durbin. She graduated from Adrian College in 1964 and she and Pete were married that August. They enjoyed 52 years together.
Jan began her teaching career at Blissfield High School where she served as FHA Advisor as well as class advisor. During that time she received the first Michigan FHA Advisor of the Year award. Her love of students and passion for learning served her well in her nearly four-decade career as an educator. Jan also taught in the Evergreen Local School District. She retired in 2003 from St. Francis Education Center where she taught middle school science. Jan also mentored numerous student teachers and colleagues throughout her career.
Jan was a Cub Scout den leader, 4-H leader and Sunday school teacher. She lived her faith and ministered throughout her life through Berkey Congregational Christian Church and her community as a whole. Her home baked pies and sugar cookies were the stuff of legends. She was also a talented seamstress.
Jan’s greatest achievements were her children Melissa A. Durbin Growden and Thomas M. Durbin and her grandchildren Isaac and Olivia Durbin.
She was a gracious hostess and lovingly accepted guests into her home. Jan never lost her “farm girl” upbringing and welcomed everyone with a smile, kind words and respect.
Jan’s faith and fighting spirit helped her remain a survivor of stage IV Ovarian Cancer for 34 years and also a Breast Cancer survivor for 10 years. She was a heroic role model for so many cancer survivors. Jan never gave up the fight.
On Sunday, September 25, 2016 she peacefully passed away at Flower Hospital with her family at her side.
Survivors include: husband, Peter E. Durbin, daughter, Melissa A. Durbin Growden, son Thomas M. (Dori) Durbin, grandchildren Isaac and Olivia Durbin and grand cats Stella and Baxter. She is also survived by brothers Keith R. (Beverly) Beck, Robert L. (Karen) Beck and Charles R. (Deborah) Beck and several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, Russell and Elaine Beck, in-laws Roger and Marian Durbin and son-in-law Andrew M. Growden.
In lieu of flowers, the family has arranged tributes in Jan’s memory to American Farm Museum & Education Center Memorial Garden c/o Blissfield State Bank or the Scholarship Fund at Lenawee Christian School.
Friends may call at Reeb Funeral Home in Sylvania, Ohio, on Wednesday, September 28, 2016, from 3:30 to 8:30 p.m. A celebration of Jan’s life will be held on Thursday, September 29, 2016, at 11 a.m. at the funeral home.