It is with very heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Janine (Hanthorn) Downing who left us on October 9th, 2023 at the age of 76. She was a beloved mom, wife, grandma, friend, teacher, therapist, and religious leader who inspired and positively impacted the lives of thousands of people throughout her life.
Janine is survived by her sons Rhett Downing (Emily) of Chicago, IL and Todd Downing (Shaina) of Joliet, IL., 4 adoring grandchildren Charlotte, Skylar, Riven and Elet. Her siblings Nancy Packard (Dave) of Nebraska, Kathy Schloff (Merle) of Vermont, Mary Jensen (Bruce) of Nebraska and Lee Hanthorn (Melissa) of Nebraska as well as Lynn Downing (Donna) of Arizona. She is also survived by many other relatives and friends who will miss her dearly.
She is preceded in death by her husband, Daryl Downing. They were married at the family farm in Nebraska in 1972 and went on to spend the next 49 years together.
Janine Anne Hanthorn was born in Lincoln, Nebraska shortly before her parents Arlene (Rath) and Lindell Hanthorn began farming near Lushton, Nebraska. She began her formal education by walking with her sister the 1 1/2 miles to York County School District 11. In first grade, and with no classmates, she was moved up to a second-grade class, now enlarged to four students. The country school redistricted, and at sixth grade she began riding the bus to Sutton Elementary School. She graduated from Sutton High School in 1964, and while a student there, she asked her mother what she should study in college. Her mother replied, "What do you get good grades in?" Janine replied "Spanish". After high school she followed her parents and relatives to Kearney State college for her undergrad work and then got her master’s degree in speech therapy from the University of Nebraska.
She later pursued a career as a Bilingual Speech Pathologist working in various local school districts as well as managed independent contract work with large corporations such as McDonalds in Oakbrook. She accomplished many notable achievements during her life. She took risks, was beautiful inside and out, generous, traveled and always, always had a story to tell.
In her later years Janine would travel to faraway places such as Israel on several occasions. She also liked to stay home and spend time with friends and family. She took long walks in Camelot neighborhood where she lived since August of 1975. She would walk in the middle of the day or the middle of the night, loved rain storms, travel and in general preferred to spend as much time as she could with family and friends. Janine will be remembered for her kindness, personality and deep-rooted caring for all of humanity. She had a huge positive impact on the lives of those who had the privilege of knowing her. She leaves behind a legacy of strong faith in Christ. Janine’s memory will live on in the hearts of all who knew and loved her.
Family will receive relatives and friends for a visitation on Monday, October 16, 2023 from 9:00 a.m. until time of funeral service beginning at 11:00 a.m. at Victory City Church, 1741 Essington Road in Joliet. Interment will follow and Janine will be laid to rest at Woodlawn Memorial Park in Joliet.
Please join us in celebrating Janine’s life and sharing stories at the funeral service. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family during this difficult time.