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Janet McIlvaine, 98, passed away peacefully in Albuquerque on February 5th, 2024, with members of her loving family present. She was born on January 13, 1926, to Harold K. and Eva E. (Penabaker) Schneider, the second of four children. She loved growing up in the small resort town of Petoskey, MI on the shores of Little Traverse Bay. Even though it was the Depression, they were a close and happy family. Memorable childhood activities comprised cherry picking, ice skating, hunting for morels, and searching for Petoskey stones on the beach. She graduated from Petoskey High School in 1944.
Janet earned her undergraduate degree at Central Michigan University. It was there that she met Sam McIlvaine when his Navy V-12 unit was stationed at Central, although it would be another five years before they would marry. She went on to earn her master’s degree at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
Sam and Janet married in Petoskey on August 26, 1950, and, after a honeymoon in the Great Smoky Mountains, lived in Sam's hometown of Louisville, KY. His career took the family to many different places in the US. Their three children were each born in a different city: one in Louisville, one in Chicago, and one in Detroit. They were married nearly 61 years before Sam's passing in 2011.
Music was always an important part of Janet's life. She played piano, was often a piano accompanist, and sang in church, high school, and college choirs, only stopping in the last 10 years when driving and eyesight became problematic. It didn't keep her from listening, though. She always told us that she had a great life (if a little too long for her liking) that included travel in the US, Canada, and Europe; family camping trips and many “theme” meals with family and friends. She was, additionally, a seamstress, a gardener, and great cook.
Janet was predeceased by her parents, her beloved Sam, her sister Lorna Thom, her brother Robert (Bob) Schneider, infant sister Barbara Mae, and son-in-law John Cushman. Surviving her are three children, Bill (Patricia) McIlvaine of Sound Beach, NY, Barbara Cushman of Albuquerque, and Ian (Jeanette) McIlvaine of Signal Hill, CA. Her grandchildren are Adrienne (Will Matelski) McIlvaine, Heather (Tim) Draskin, and Stephanie (Jimmy) Ruales, all of NY; Ben (Elena Schrader) Brown and Celia (Brian) Wallace of Albuquerque, and Gracie McIlvaine of CA; great-grandchildren, Kevin and Sam Draskin, Michael and Audrey Ruales, and Elliott Wallace. She is also survived by her sister-in-law, Barbara Schneider, with whom she was very close.
Janet's memorial service will be held on Saturday, February 17 at 10:30 AM at First Presbyterian Church of Belen, NM. Anyone wishing to do so may make a donation in Janet's name to First Presbyterian Church, P.O. Box 218, Belen, NM 87002 or to Presbyterian Hospice.
Arrangements are being handled by the caring professionals at the Noblin Funeral Service, Los Lunas, where an online guest register is available at www.noblin.com