Janis “Jan-Baby” W. McDermott, 83, died surrounded by family, at Mercy House of the Southern Tier on January, 7th at 2:30 pm She is predeceased by her sister Joan Schmitten, brother John C. Walter Jr., her godson Benjamin Bishop, and nephew Andrew Joseph Bishop. Jan Baby is survived by her husband of 61 years, John C. McDermott, daughter Maggie (McDermott) Branch, daughter Mary C. McDermott and son John C. McDermott Jr. and his wife Carey Carpenter, her chosen daughter Beth (Borchers) Schappert, her granddaughters Anna C. Branch (27), Eliza C. Branch (23) and Fiona G. McDermott (9), her sisters, Jean Bishop and Judy Shinkwin and husband Bill Shinkwin, and sister-in-law Joan Walter, godson John Walter III, along with 13 additional nieces and nephews. She was devoted to God and donated her time and skills and talents to raise money for her church, Our Lady of Good Councel, and its charitable services. Jan Baby loved her husband and family beyond words and was beloved by all who knew her, whether you called her wife, mother, friend, or confidant. We will remember her for being kind, loving, feisty, and fun.
A Funeral Mass for Jan will be held on Wednesday, January 17 at 11 am at Our Lady of Good Counsel Church, 701 West Main Street, Endicott. Burial will be held at a later date at the convenience of the family. The family will receive friends on Wednesday at church from 10 am until Mass time at 11 am.
Expressions of sympathy in her memory may be made to: Mercy House of the Southern Tier, 212 N. McKinley Avenue, Endicott, NY 13760, or Campville Fire Department, 6153 NY-17C, Endicott, NY 13760.
Jan-Baby said, “Don’t be sad, be happy for me.” She didn’t want anyone to feel sad because her love for God and her faith in everlasting life made her feel joy. I encourage you to fill your heart with joy when you remember her.
I’ll share some of the joys of having Jan-baby as a mother and a friend.
She made most of our clothes when we were little; it was so fun to go to the store, pick out patterns and fabrics, and design our clothing. We had the best Halloween costumes; she brought our imagination to life. Long before you could find a dinosaur toy in the stores, she made my brother a stuffed stegosaurus from a pattern she made from a coloring book page. She made me a tree costume from a picture I drew. Her granddaughter colored a picture of a quilt, and Jan-Baby made one exactly like it.
Growing up in our house, it was always filled with friends. Jan-Baby knew every kid in the neighborhood, and she knew what their special food, treats, or favorite cookies were and always had those favorites around. She was always up for putting out her infamous “wild party” sign, hosting pre-prom dinners in our basement, disco parties, and a haunted house in our garage to the annual chili and game parties on New Year’s Day.
She was a fierce protector of the young people around her and loyal to the end. You could confide anything in her, and she would hold it in confidence. When you’re a kid, not many adults feel as trustworthy as she did, and we all knew she was that person.
Jan Baby’s three grandbabies are her special crew of girls, just like her, they were all born in July. Ice cream cakes and backyard games of croquet graced their summer birthday month. Her other crew of ladies near and dear to her heart are her sisters, sister-in-law, daughters and daughter-in-law who she felt were her friends and supporters in life.
Over these past few weeks, our childhood friends wrote her letters. They remembered sitting around the kitchen table chatting with Jan Baby, her easygoing style, or how she encouraged everyone to be themselves. They remarked how they tried to emulate her parenting styles with their own kids.
Even though she genuinely didn’t think she did volunteer work, she has constantly contributed to the community for most of her life. She cared for many neighborhood children who needed extra mothering; she was a Girl Scout leader, a carpool driver, and a cheerleader for all.
Her devotion to the church closely followed her generosity to children. She spent many years creating and being a part of a community of incredible women, with what we called “Sewing Circus,” making quilts, crocheting scrubbies, and raising money for the church with her sewing craft. She also was a significant contributor to the annual rummage sale and gave her time monthly in the soup kitchen.
My dad remembers the day he asked her on their first date, and he can still describe the cute girl in the blue denim dress with red buttons and red stitching, white socks, and tennis shoes. Then he glows when he says that he was lucky to have her for 61 years, we worked at it, and we had a lot of fun. His eyes still sparkled when he gazed at his bride in her hospice bed and said I love you, and you are still a hottie.
When you hear my words, I hope you have an image of her inner radiance and remember her the way we do as kind, creative, loving, and fun.