November 5, 1970 – November 22, 2016
Following a long and determined fight against a recurrence of breast cancer and a short stay at the Center for Hospice Care in South Bend, Janet’s life on earth ended and she began her eternal life with God. Janet is survived by her husband of 15 years, Todd R. Auel, her two young sons Stephen R. Auel and Joseph T. Auel, her mother Phyllis B. Szrom, brother Paul Szrom (Susan), niece Laura Szrom, nephews Andrew and Mikey Szrom. Janet was preceded in death by her brother Stephen Szrom, father Robert F. Szrom, and both sets of Grandparents.
Janet was born in Lorain, OH on November 5, 1970. Except for the time she was away at college, she has been a resident of Granger and Mishawaka since her family moved here when she was six. She attended Clay Elementary School and graduated from St. Joseph High School in South Bend in 1989. Janet attended Valparaiso University and graduated in 1993 with a degree in dietetics. She completed her internship at University Hospitals of Cleveland and received her master’s degree in human nutrition from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH in 1995. Janet returned to Granger to begin her career as a Registered Dietitian at St. Joseph Community Hospital in Mishawaka. She then moved to the Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center in South Bend and in Mishawaka where she worked until 2012 when she decided to spend all her time as Mommy for her two sons, Stephen and Joseph. Janet cared greatly about her patients providing them with the best nutritional information and education possible. She had a special place in her heart for patients with diabetes or cancer because of her personal understanding of their struggles.
Janet was a women of strong faith and trust in God. She was a lifelong member of St. Pius X Catholic Church in Granger. Through the trials of life, Janet always maintained her trust in God. She fully trusted that God was always with her, helping her through each day and sustaining her in difficult times. Her faith and commitment was particularly strengthened after attending and then giving the gift of a Christ Renews His Parish weekend retreat. She formed bonds with her team that cannot be broken. Janet was active in many ministries at the parish.
Janet was a devoted and loving wife and mother with a spunk and zest for life. Her family meant everything to her. She and Todd were married on August 25, 2001 and after some years they were blessed with the arrival of their sons Stephen and Joey who greatly enriched her life. Despite side effects from treatments she received to battle her cancer, she did not complain. Instead she focused on her family. She was always looking for opportunities to take the boys to a playground, pool/splash pad, play date, the library for story times, etc. She loved to plan fun things for the family to do as well as maintain family traditions. Her mission was to make sure the boys would thrive in all they do and learn to love life as she did. Janet’s love and dedication for her husband and sons was obvious to those who knew her and will be greatly missed by Todd, Stephen and Joey as will her love of life.
Tennis was Janet’s passion after her faith and family. She loved the game she started playing when she was in elementary school and continued playing throughout times of treatment to fight her cancer. She played four years of varsity tennis at St. Joseph High School and four years of tennis for the Valparaiso Crusaders. She played on several local USTA tennis teams including the Women’s 4.0 team that won the national title in 2011, and lots of local recreational teams. Janet was the head coach of the St. Joseph High School girls tennis team from 2000-2003. In her first year as head coach the team took fourth place in the state tournament. For those who played tennis with Janet, they will remember her saying “Oh Piglet!” when she hit a bad shot and her refusal to upgrade to a new “high tech” racquet.
After her initial breast cancer diagnosis in 2003, Janet dedicated many hours to groups and organizations that helped people deal with the effects of cancer and to help with early detection. Shortly after first being diagnosed, Janet became one of four founding members of the Young Survivors (now known as the Pink Survivors) support group for young, pre-menopausal women dealing with issues from breast cancer. At the time there were no support groups for young women and the different challenges they faced as the result of a cancer diagnosis and treatment. Janet was also a member of the Saint Joseph Women’s Task Force. During her time as a Task Force member she helped to plan the annual Secret Sisters Society Luncheon and Style Show and served as luncheon Chairwoman for one year. She also helped coordinate and plan Susan G. Komen survivor luncheons. Due to her own experiences, Janet always encouraged people to be their own advocate for their health and to “Live, Love, Laugh” through everything. She was an example of determined fight, perseverance and an attitude that cancer would not define her or keep her from living life to the fullest.
Janet was a woman who maintained lifelong friendships but was always ready to make new friends. She also touched many people with her handwritten notes of thank you and encouragement. She maintained a supply of note cards so she was always ready to send one of her personal, handwritten notes.
On behalf of Janet, the family would like to extend a special thank you Dr. Rafat Ansari, Brandee Flagg and all the staff at Michiana Hematology-Oncology for the years of outstanding compassionate care and encouragement they provided for Janet during her battle with cancer. Special thanks also need to be given to all the staff at the Center for Hospice Care in South Bend. Their great care and concern for the comfort of Janet and the entire family including Stephen and Joey was a blessing to us all. May God bless you for the work you do at some of the most difficult times for patients and families.
Our dear Janet will be with us in our memories and in our hearts, Always and Forever.
A mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated for Janet at 10:30am Monday at St. Pius X Catholic Church Fir & SR 23, with visitation from 9:30-10:20am prior to mass in the church. Burial will follow at St. Joseph Valley Memorial Park. Friends may also call on Sunday from 2-6pm at the McGann Hay Funerals | Cremations | Gatherings, Granger Chapel, 13260 SR 23, enter off Cherry Rd. where there will be a parish vigil service at 4pm.
Memorial donations may be made in Janet’s memory to the St. Pius X Capital Campaign or to the Center for Hospice Care or donations can be made to an education fund for Stephen and Joey at any Teacher’s Credit Union. To send condolences to the family or for directions log on to:
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