Jeanette Y. Wiens 1953 - 2008 Lawrence
Memorial services for Jeanette “Jan” Y. Wiens, 54, Lawrence, will be at 2:30 p.m. Dec. 21 at Peace Mennonite Church.Ms. Wiens died Sunday, Nov. 23, 2008, at her home. She had Huntington’s disease.She was born Dec. 26, 1953, in Kansas City, Kan., the daughter of Peter K. Wiens and Lenora J. Hodel. She attended school in Ness City and graduated from Ness City High School in 1971. She received a Bachelor of Arts in theater and psychology from Ottawa University in 1974.She worked as a respiratory therapist in Topeka while composing and performing in the play “Women’s Works.” She moved to Orcas Island, Wash., in 1975 where she worked with a theater company for four years. She then moved to Boulder, Colo., where she worked in hospice care and studied performance work at NAROPA.In 1980, Ms. Wiens began working in Berkeley, Calif., as a nanny, at an art preschool and with people needing home care. She also studied with Leonard Pitt at his internationally acclaimed school of physical theater. She later moved to Tokyo, where she lived for 13 years, teaching English, professional performance work and performing in a variety of solo and group productions.She moved to Lawrence in 1997 and worked in caregiving for Trinity Care and then taught voice, movement and dance at the Lawrence Arts Center. She showed her work at the center’s Choreographer’s Showcase for several years. She completed training as a Reiki master in 1998. She founded the nonprofit Vibrations Studio in 1999 and directed performance art classes and an art studio until 2001. Her work continued with a dance class at the arts center, a movement class for mentally and emotionally challenged adults and as a personal care assistant through Community Works Inc. until 2004 when complications from Huntington’s disease ended her professional career.She continued to write poetry until her death. While she was a Christian, she also studied other religions.Survivors include two sisters, Gwen Wiens and husband Robert Blum, and Cindy Wiens, all of Lawrence; a brother, Stan Wiens and wife Jan, Kemp, Texas; six nephews, Nate and Jonathan Blum, Garrett Wiens-Kind and Phil, Matt and Sean Wiens; and two nieces, Melanie Wiens-Kind and Jessica Wiens.She was preceded in death by her parents and a stepfather, Walter Samanski.The family suggests memorials to the Hereditary Neurological Disease Centre, Wichita, sent in care of Rumsey-Yost Funeral Home.Online condolences may be sent at rumsey-yost.com.