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Janet Velicer died peacefully with family members present on Wednesday, May 11, 2022, at her retirement community in Lenexa, Kan. Known as an avid lifelong reader, dedicated educator, lover of the musical fine arts and world traveler, she was 80 years old.

Jan was born Janet Frances Schafbuch in 1941 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to parents Geraldine and Allan Schafbuch. Her earliest memories and childhood were on the family farm in Van Horne, Iowa, which shaped her hard-working German, Irish and English heritage of which she was always proud.

Starting with classes at Clark College, Jan went on to achieve a BS in Home Economics Education (1963) and MS in Food Science and Human Nutrition (1966), both from Iowa State University of Science and Technology. She later added her Certificate in Elementary Education, at Michigan State University (1976).

Jan taught at multiple high school and elementary locations in the Pennsylvania Catholic, Michigan Waverly and Okemos school systems. She thrived for 23 years in the Okemos district, where her service spanned several elementary grades and the Gifted and Talented Program, before retiring (2001). She was recognized with the Classrooms of Tomorrow Teacher Award, Dept. of Education, State of Michigan (1990).

In addition to serving on numerous school district committees, Jan was inducted as a Fellow into the Michigan Association of Teachers of Mathematics and into several academic honor societies. Perhaps most striking were her dozens of contributions in civic leadership capacities, which advanced international student travel, music and the arts, election integrity, education modernization and health and medicine.

During her retirement, Jan immensely enjoyed attending the Kansas City Symphony and other fine musical arts concerts, especially those performed by her son Daniel and daughter-in-law Kristin. She also enjoyed many organized travel excursions with her husband Jim, and family members when possible, throughout North America and internationally. One of Jan's hallmarks was continually planning ahead for the next trip, even as she maintained long-term friendships from all walks of her life.

Jan is survived and mourned by her husband, James Geiger; three sons, Daniel (Kristin) Velicer of Overland Park, Kan., Gregory (Yuen-Tsu Nicco) Velicer of Rothenthurm, Switzerland, and Mark (Christine) Velicer of Harleysville, Pa.; seven cherished grandchildren, Nicholas and Hanna, Irene and Sophia and Jessica, Carlina and Tatianna Velicer; and her three siblings, James (Linda) Schafbuch, Sandra (Steve) Gibney and Mary Junge. Her first husband, scientist Dr. Leland Frank Velicer, who she met and married at Iowa State in Ames, Iowa, died in 2000.

In place of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Jan's memory to the Kansas City Symphony, or to Kansas City Hospice Care for their excellent compassionate care. To send condolences, please visit

A memorial service will be hosted at 11 a.m. June 4, at the Shawnee Mission Unitarian Universalist Church, 9400 Pflumm Rd., Lenexa, KS 66215. In addition, an interment ceremony and Celebration of Life meal will be held in Iowa on June 6. She will be dearly missed.

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