Jan Venolia In Memory of Jan Venolia

First post: Jul 14, 2020 Latest post: Aug 12, 2020
Thank you for visiting our CaringBridge website. This is our place to share memories of Jan until the time for gathering in person is more appropriate, given the pandemic. 

Janet Gore Venolia passed away peacefully in her sleep on June 2, 2020, after a ten-year adventure with Alzheimer’s Disease. She spent the last two years of her life sharing a home with me, daughter Carol Venolia, as her full-time caregiver, and welcoming frequent visits from her other children, Malcolm Venolia and Lee Thoman Venolia.

Mom went through a lot of changes over the years, but some things never left her: her sunny disposition and her gratitude for having lived a good life.

Born May 9, 1928 in New York City, Jan was the third daughter of the late Estelle Gerber Gore and A. Challiss Gore. The family moved to Northern CA in 1938, where Jan attended Acalanes High School and later Pomona College, graduating with an English major in 1950. While at Pomona, she met UCLA student A. Wayne Venolia, who transferred to Pomona to be with her. They married in 1948 and raised three children, living in Southern California, New Jersey, and Northern California. Jan was a devoted mother, studying the nutritional advice of Adele Davis, organizing family trips to the mountains or across the country, taking her kids to the courthouse to see the judicial system in action, or assisting with job hunts and entrepreneurship. 

As her offspring matured, Jan entered the workforce as a secretary, little knowing that this would be the first step in a major transformation. Her employer recognized her talent with the English language and encouraged her to become a freelance writer and editor. An editing client then asked her to create something to help him stop making the same writing mistakes—which eventually led her to self-publish her first book, Write Right! A Desk Drawer Digest of Punctuation, Grammar, and Style. This was so well received that she followed it with Better Letters. Phenomenal sales of both books enabled her to then contract with the publisher of her choice, Ten Speed Press, and with them published Rewrite Right!, Kids Write Right!, The Right Word!, and The Right Letter! 

The success of these books allowed Jan and Wayne to leave smoggy LA and move to Gualala, on the Northern California coast. In that beautiful small town, Jan immersed herself in her other passion: making the world a better place; she volunteered with several community organizations, including Beyond War, and published her own Priorities newsletter. With family, she traveled the world, visiting Germany, Italy, England, and Australia, until Wayne’s passing in 2008. She then lived at Friends House in Santa Rosa for six years. In her final years, she often said, "I've had a good life; I'm grateful.” We will all miss her warmth, wit, passion, winning smile, and unfailing attention to grammarly details. 

Donations are invited in her honor to organizations that greatly helped in her last years: The Alzheimer’s Association (alz.org (http://alz.org), Central Coast VNA & Hospice (ccvna.com (http://ccvna.com), and Del Mar Caregiver Resource Center (delmarcaregiver.org (http://delmarcaregiver.org).