Obituary of Janice K. Howard
Janice (Lockwood-Gurski) Lucas Howard peacefully passed away on Saturday, November 11th, 2023. She was born April 8, 1939, in Danbury Hospital, the daughter of the late Marjorie (Rydell) Lockwood Gurski and Melvin Claude Lockwood, and was the adopted daughter of the late Stanley R. Gurski.
She graduated from Brookfield Consolidated (now Center) School in 1953 and Danbury High School in 1957. After working for several years for the Prudential Insurance Company in Danbury, she enlisted in the US Air Force in 1962 and was assigned to McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and a minor in journalism from Western Connecticut State University in 1982 and 15 credits toward a master’s degree in public administration.
In 2004, she retired as a feature, news, and historical writer for The Newtown Bee. Previously, she had been employed by the Housatonic Valley Publishing Company (HVPC) as managing editor and writer for The Brookfield Journal. The Journal received New England Press Association awards for general excellence, investigative journalism, editorial, and editorial page during her tenure.
She formerly worked as a reporter for The Weekly Star in Woodbury and as a freelance writer or stringer for Valley Times, Litchfield County Times, Weston Forum, Brookfield Magazine, and Business Digest.
Before her journalism career, she was employed as a typesetter for HVPC. While attending WCSU, she wrote news and feature stories for HVPC newspapers and was editor of the in-house newspaper.
Her hobbies included genealogical research, reading, playing the piano, and activities with her family.
She served for over 25 years on boards and commissions in Brookfield, including Recreation and Parks, Planning, Housing Partnership Task Force, Gurski Homestead Commission, and Gurski Master Plan Ad-Hoc Committee. She was also a member of the Historic Cemeteries of Brookfield Association and was president for seven years.
She was a former member of the Genealogy Club of Newtown, Newtown Choral Society, Brookfield Republican Town Committee, and Brookfield Republican Women’s Club. Concern for her community and its future led her, as an editor and long-time resident, to support affordable housing and open space preservation.
Janice was a member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Brookfield, CT, where she formerly served as a Sunday school teacher, superintendent, and administrator.
She was a member and former president of the board of directors of Brookfield Open Space Legacy, Inc. She loved nature, enjoyed the wild animals and birds that came into her yard and believed in the protection and preservation of land for the enjoyment of future generations. She took an active interest in preserving and protecting the Gurski Farm property where she grew up.
From 1970 to 1980, she was the leader of The Briar Bunch 4-H Club and, in 1980, received a Connecticut 4-H leadership award. She was named a Business and Professional Women’s Club Woman of the Year in 1984 and 1998. She received a citation from the Connecticut General Assembly in recognition of her years of service as editor of The Brookfield Journal. She was one of the first two women to become members of the Brookfield Rotary Club.
In 2022, her first book was published: A Moment in Time…a Diary, based on a diary from 1880 that was passed down in the family from its original author, Eunice Nicholson, her great Aunt. The diary tells the story over a one-year span about her relationships with her family and friends and her experiences briefly as a teacher in training in Roxbury, CT. It is a bittersweet story. Its beginning months reflect happiness, visits with her sister and friends, outings with her father and mother, and the days spent at school, but her life soon changed.
Janice is survived by her three children, Pamela (Howard) Pickler of North Carolina; Doreen McManus and her husband, Timothy, of Brookfield; and Vernon S Howard (Denise Kim) of Norwalk; and a foster daughter, Tracy (Whitley) Thacker and her husband Paul of Kentucky; grandchildren, Jonathan Howard and his wife, Jessica (Hill) Howard; James Oliver, Shawn Gardner (Elana Hardesty), and Ethan Gardner, and Jenna Li McManus; great-grandson, Kyle Lucas Howard; and her siblings, Rene Lockwood Rauen of Michigan, and Barbara Lockwood Ober of Illinois, as well as many nieces and nephews.
She was predeceased by one grandchild, Kyle Gardner.
She is also survived by her long-time friends, Joan Birks of Mississippi, Shirley Ferris and Dottie Evans of Newtown, Linda Bruder of Long Island, NY, and Kaaren Valenta of Florida.
She is survived by her former husband, Alton R Howard, and was predeceased by her former husband, Robert John Lucas.
A celebration of Janice's life will be held at 2:00 PM on Sunday, December 3, 2023 at St Paul Episcopal Church, 174 Whisconier Rd, Brookfield, with internment following service.
Contributions in her memory may be made to the Historic Cemeteries of Brookfield Association, c/o Brookfield Museum & Historical Society, 165 Whisconier Road, PO Box 5231, Brookfield, CT 06804; Weantinoge Heritage Land Trust in Kent, CT, which oversees and protects Brookfield lands donated by former residents to the Open Space Legacy; the Cyrenius H. Booth Library, Main Street, Newtown, CT -06470 for additions to its genealogical collection, and the Brookfield Conservation Commission., c/o Brookfield Town Hall, for use in the preservation of the Gurski Homestead property.
In Loving Memory
1939 - 2023
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