Janis Ann Louise (Morritt) Vodden
Janis Ann Louise (Morritt) Vodden of Blyth passed away suddenly at St. Mary’s General Hospital in Kitchener on Tuesday, July 3, 2018. She was in her 82nd year.
The beloved wife of Harold Brockest “Brock” Vodden for 62 years, Janis was the loving mother of John and Ruth Vodden of Wells, Nevada, Mary Ellen and Randy Zupanski of Taipei, Taiwan, Trevor and Carolynn Vodden of Calgary, Alberta, Pamela Ross Simons and Christopher Murray, and Andrew Vodden, all of Toronto, and Kent Vodden of Guelph.
Janis will be missed by six grandchildren, Morgan and Courtney Zupanski of California, Ryan and Kelsey Vodden of Calgary, Chandra and Kyairah Vodden and one great-grandchild, Ariyah Vodden-McQuick, all of Toronto.
She is survived by niece Yvonne Bean, nephew Dana Bean and his wife Joyce and their children. Also mourning her loss are two people who adopted her as a “grandma”, Madeline Kakegamick of Sandy Lake and Shirley Hun Ping Will of Mississauga.
Janis was predeceased by her parents, William H. and Hannah Gertrude Morritt and her sister and brother-in-law Maureen and Maurice Bean.
Janis had a life-long fascination with history, especially that of the community around her.
Janis’s history with Huron County reaches back to the 1800s. It was in the 1860s when her paternal grandfather came to the Blyth area from Hay Township with his wife Isabella McIntosh, who was the daughter of one of the earliest settlers on London Road in Tuckersmith Township.
The family settled in Hullett Township, but had a Blyth mailing address.
Her maternal grandparents also farmed in Hullett Township before moving to Blyth in the late 1800s.
Brock and Janis were married on July 3, 1956 at Blyth United Church. Once married, both Brock and Janis worked as school teachers in Tory Hill in Haliburton County before Janis continued her work in the world of education locally.
Over the years, Janis took great pride in her gardening work, as well as in her church activities, especially when she served as an elder at Emmanuel Howard Park in Toronto.
One of her most vivid memories, she said, was when she volunteered in the Chaplaincy Department of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Toronto, at which time she was also the editor of the hospital’s volunteer newsletter.
Another high point in her life was her time in Pearson Township when she tended to livestock and taught both 4-H and Women’s Institute classes.
During her whole life, Janis was a dedicated gardener. Whether it was when she and Brock lived in a small apartment or when she tended to several football fields of gardens in Northern Ontario, she let her green thumb shine through as a true passion of her life.
In recent years, both Janis and Brock have turned to helping others through their passion for local history and the creation of the Repository of Blyth History.
They had been unofficially researching Blyth and its people for years, but made it official in 2008. Since then, they have welcomed over 300 visitors to their home to help them research local people, homes or businesses.
Those searching for Blyth history who have contacted the Voddens have come from as far away as New Zealand with many others coming from the United States and all over Canada.
Their collection now consists of well over 60,000 file cards containing information from a number of sources, including newspapers, books, letters and personal recollections of life in the village.
In recent years, the Voddens have been the go-to historians for local endeavours that need a boost by way of historical information. The Blyth Festival and Cowbell Brewing Co. have both turned to the Voddens for their expertise for projects.
Both Brock and Janis are published authors, lending their expertise and writing prowess to books on local history.
As e-mail, social media and texting became more and more prevalent, Janis was a dedicated letter-writer, maintaining hand-written correspondence with dozens of friends right up until her passing.
A memorial service for Janis was held at the Blyth United Church on Monday at 3 p.m., with visitation held one hour prior. Interment of ashes at Blyth Union Cemetery will be held at a later date.
Memorial donations to the Huron County branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society would be appreciated as an expression of sympathy.
Arrangements were entrusted to Falconer Funeral Homes and condolences for the family may be placed at www.falconerfuneralhomes.com.