LOS ANGELES, Calif.—Janice L. (Jan) Reiff passed away unexpectedly in her home in Los Angeles, Calif., on Tuesday, May 4, 2021.
She was born in Sterling on Nov. 2, 1949. Jan was preceded in death by her parents, Arnold M Reiff (Father) and R. Lorraine Reiff (Mother).
She is survived by her sister, Maggie R. Laird, and husband Bob; her brother, Terry A. Reiff, and wife Kate; her nieces, Shawna Laird-Brush and husband Zak, Gwen L. Halverson and husband Brian, Sarah R. Swan and husband Mike, and Olivia Reiff; her nephew, Bradley Reiff; and great niece, Heidi M. Halverson. She would have soon become a great aunt again.
Jan graduated Mount Carroll High School in 1967 and earned her undergraduate degree at Northwestern University and her PhD from the University of Washington in History. She worked at the Newberry Library and taught at Northwestern University, Case Western University, and UCLA. She was also a Fulbright Senior Scholar at Univeristat Bremen in Germany. Jan was an accomplished, published, and dedicated teacher as well as a researcher who presented history through a variety of media.
Jan's legacy goes far beyond the books she has written, students she has taught, awards she was bestowed, and the committees and projects she was involved with. She loved family and that love began in western Illinois in a large family. She was generous with herself giving not only to her family, but her colleagues and students as well. Jan often shared her love of travel, photography, and history with her family and invited them to learn with her around the world.
She instilled her love of history, film, and music in her nieces and nephews; often taking them to Broadway musicals and allowing them to "teach" her classes. Jan also had a fun side and would gift trips to Disneyland, tropical islands, and wineries to her nieces and nephews — as long as she could go as well.
Jan was a gifted storyteller and never met a stranger. Death takes the body God takes the soul. Our mind holds the memories. Our heart keeps the love. Our faith lets us know we will meet again. Although her family mourns her passing, they celebrate her rich life and caring heart.