Janet Sovine Cummins

Janet Cummins, age 83, peacefully passed away on May 2, 2021, in Simpsonville, South Carolina.  She was born on July 23, 1937 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  Janet was preceded in death by her parents, Joe and Lena Sovine; sister, Barbara Fricke; three sons, Jeffrey, Daniel, and Michael; and one daughter, Susan. She is survived by her brother David Sovine (wife Lydia),  son, Josef Cummins (wife Angela); daughter, Becka Davidson (husband Kevin); daughter Tamara Cummins; seven grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.

The daughter of a naval officer, she and her family moved from Indiana to California during World War II. During the course of her marriage to her naval officer husband, she and their growing family at various times lived in California, Maryland, Kansas,  Virginia, and finally Indiana.   She raised the last of her seven kids on an old  farmhouse  in Indiana, living amongst the welcome chaos of horses,  chickens, goats, motorcycles , neighborhood friends, all in a house in a continue state of reconstruction

In her 40s she had to re invent herself as a single mom.  She went back to college, earning her BS with Honors in nursing,  while working nights and  continuing to care for the remaining family at home 

By profession Janet was a registered nurse, working both in Indiana and North Carolina.  By avocation she was a teacher and mentor of children.  In her youth she was a camp counselor, beginning a long career of teaching children to swim, canoe, and love nature.  Throughout her life she taught her children, grandchildren, and their friends to identify birds, recognize star constellations, and to start insect and leaf collections.

Her enthusiasm for adventure was also demonstrated in her love of epic literature.  Favorites were the works of JRR Tolkien and Anne McCaffrey.  Her reading of The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy to groups of neighborhood children during  summer vacations remains a cherished childhood memory for many.   That enthusiasm  was demonstrated when  she painted a giant dragon with it’s treasure on a rather large wall in her house, including cherished family belongings in the horde.

Janet loved music and singing. She played the guitar, dulcimer, viola, piano, harmonica, ukulele, and recorder.  She composed music and songs.  Her favorite musicians included John Denver; Peter, Paul, and Mary; and Roger Whittaker.  Janet belonged to a dulcimer group and performed at area nursing homes in Winston-Salem.  She attended many music conferences in the mountains of North Carolina.

In addition to composing music, Janet was a prolific writer of poetry. She wrote and self-published a children’s book, Brandy’s Ghost, and co-wrote a series of unpublished books with her sister Barbara.  She made up elaborate and ongoing stories for her children and grandchildren.

Janet remained  well traveled her entire life.  In later years Janet enjoyed traveling to visit her far-flung children and other relatives. She would load up her car with her dog, snacks, needlework projects,  books, maps (she loved maps), and a random child/grandchild and drive between Wisconsin, North Carolina, Virginia, South Carolina, Indiana, and Texas.   She sang while she drove.  All the time.

Janet was unfailingly cheerful. She made people feel welcome, comfortable, and wanted, just by talking to them. Everyone called her “Mom.”  Janet had a sharp wit, warped sense of humor, and was liked by all. She knew no strangers. Her children teased her unmercifully, but loved her to distraction. Janet taught us how to love and laugh. She made the world a better place. She holds a special place in many hearts and will not be forgotten. 

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