Martha Miriam Janicke, 85, died peacefully April 28, 2011 at Olathe Medical Center surrounded by family.
Martha was born on September 25,1925 in rural Severance, KS to Charles Alvin and Lottie Virginia (Ritenour) Drake. She was the youngest of eleven children, the seventh of seven daughters. Her mother died while Martha was an infant, and the family was blessed with the constant presence and guidance of their beloved Aunt Minerva Ritenour, who devoted herself to help care for the children on the family farm in Doniphan County. Martha attended the one-room Laverentz Grade School and graduated from Severance High School (which enjoyed a friendly rivalry with nearby Leona High School where her future husband was a student). She attended what is now Highland Community College and later taught at a rural grade school. Following WWII, Martha began working at the Farmer’s Bank of Leona. There she met a bank employee named Neal Janicke, who was just out of the Army and starting his banking career. They discovered that, except for the time Neal spent stationed in Europe, they had been living only about three miles away from each other for most of their lives. Martha and Neal were married on May 30, 1949 in Severance and settled in Leona. They enjoyed living in the small, tight-knit community among relatives and childhood friends and in later years fondly recalled spending evenings at The Sportsman’s Club or piling into the car to drive to Rulo, NE. They became parents to a son in 1954 and a daughter in 1958.
In 1962, Neal accepted a position at The State Bank of Spring Hill, and he and Martha moved to Spring Hill, KS, where they would raise their children and spend the rest of their lives. They became active members of the community and belonged to the Spring Hill United Methodist Church. Martha was a devoted homemaker and fastidious housekeeper, and the kids grew up knowing well the familiar scent of bleach wafting throughout the house. An intelligent and avid reader, Martha had an uncanny ability to remember details, characters and plots and could readily quote lines from literature and poetry or verses from the Bible. She loved the telling (and retelling) of a good story or joke, but always remained a proper lady. One of the highlights of her life was a long-awaited trip to England with her husband in 1977. Martha and Neal lived modestly. They were quietly generous to those in need and steadfastly supportive of their small town. For several years before his death in 2002, Neal suffered from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, and Martha provided patient and loving care to him throughout that difficult time.
Also preceding her in death were four brothers: Tilden, Daniel “Boone”, Leroy “Butch” and Alvin “Bob” Drake; and three sisters: Elsie, Sarah Ann “Sally”, and Minerva “Dub”. Martha’s survivors include her son, Tim Janicke and wife Paula of Shawnee, KS; her daughter, Miriam Shaw and husband Howard of Olathe, KS. Martha was a loving grandmother to Andrew Janicke and displayed equal affection for Tim’s niece, Natasha Meyers. She is also survived by three sisters: Zenza Lancaster of Tujunga, CA, Rose Mary Nelson of Boulder, CO and Helen Foster of Troy, KS; as well as numerous nieces, nephews and their families. Visitation will be at 10:00 am Wednesday, May 4, 2011 followed by the Funeral Service at 11:00 am, at Bruce Funeral Home, 712 S Webster, Spring Hill, KS (913) 592-2244. Burial at 2:00 pm, Thursday, May 5, 2011 at Pleasant Hill Cemetery, Leona, KS. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to the Salvation Army or the Spring Hill United Methodist Church. Condolences may be sent to