Current & Archived Funerals


Janice Finch

Janice Finch

1947 - 2024

Janice Regina “Jan” Finch.  “How do I want to say this?” Whether she would agree with us or not — and, well, she is not here to argue — this was one of our mother’s most frequent phrases. Usually after starting to share a thought or a story, then pausing to choose the most appropriate words. In the South, we just say it. And then say, “bless their heart;” a shortcut for insulting someone and then excusing what we just said in one fell swoop. Our mom, though, was far more tasteful and refined. She was a woman with tremendous control of the English language; and she always did find the most palatable way to say that somebody on her TV show’s hair was bad, or they were stupid. “They could use a good stylist,” she might say. Or perhaps, “That doesn’t suit them.” We’ll stick with “bless your heart.” Jan was born in Saginaw, Michigan to a small midwestern beauty and a tall, striking man who spoke mostly in Polish. They were kind and simple people who grew up in a time where folks didn’t have as much. Mom took away the practicality of that kind of living and, through it, taught her children about simple joys. We spent a lot of time outdoors, hiking, talking around campfires, and picking wild mushrooms. Year after year, she kept a thriving (and enormous) garden of which we are still in awe. Mom also taught us about making good food (even after we told her we preferred Kraft Mac-n-Cheese to her homemade, a slander she never forgot). From her, we learned how to dice, sauté, and mise en place, and the difference between a roux and a béchamel. One time, after looking at a particularly challenging recipe, she said, “I am going to try that.” It was a 10-layer mint chocolate cake with the most decadent ganache you could imagine. It was as elegant as it was a pain to make (she made it exactly once and we never spoke of it again). She also taught us that while she may love to keep the bottoms of her copper pots out-of-the-box-clean using a product she must have sourced from Martha Stewart herself, we would probably skip that step when we had our own. Jan moved to Rogers City in the late 80s. She was involved in the Chamber of Commerce for many years in the 90s, where she could put her intellect and her charm into practice in perfect concert. She was friendly and vivacious, a skilled communicator, insanely good with numbers, and immaculately organized (skills it would have been nice for the gene pool to pass along). Most memorably, though, Mom had a way about her that was just, well, likable. As smart as Jan was, she was just as funny. Which is probably how a slender 5’10” beautiful force of a woman could so readily disarm. There were few conversations Jan had with her friends and family without laughter. Anyone who heard the phone chats between Jan and her daughter would be sure to ask, “what was so funny?” She was. Endlessly. She may have been a homebody in her more recent years. But Jan loved to explore and was often quick to get on a plane for a visit to Atlanta, or to join her daughter in New York for a conference she had to attend. Or to take a train ride through Maine and Vermont, bringing home stories of the beautiful landscape (and her disappointment in the maple syrup). She loved to read and was known for keeping newspapers, magazines, books, and clippings she was particularly fond of (and there was a lot she was fond of). For years, she would send paper clippings of interesting stories in the mail. It was a small quirk, but one her children cherished.

Jan is survived by her two children and a grandson: Stephanie Critchfield; Yosef (Brian) Abraham (wife Karina Critchfield); and Jeffrey Gavranovic (grandson).

She was preceded in death by her mother and father, (Chester and Hedwig Sobotka) who are laid to rest in Saginaw, Michigan, and by her partner, Ron Finch.

Friends may  visit at the Beck Funeral Home on Thursday, January 25th from 2:00 p.m. through time her memorial service at 3:00 p.m. A time of fellowship will follow.

Send Condolences Back to Obituaries
Janice Finch – Beck Funeral Home – Rogers City, MI