Cover photo for Janice Gracer Brown's Obituary
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1945 Janice 2023

Janice Gracer Brown

February 1, 1945 — December 28, 2023

Janice Gracer Brown, age 78, passed away suddenly at her home in New Lenox on Thursday, December 28, 2023.


Janice is survived by her beloved children, Sarah Brown Hadjimarkos and David Brown; her son-in-law, Athan Hadjimarkos; and her grandchildren, EJ Hadjimarkos, Lana Brown, Nico Hadjimarkos, and Faye Brown.


She is preceded in death by her parents, Albert and Jean (nee Chilicki) Gracer; her brother James Gracer; and her sister-in-law, Joanne Gracer.


Janice was born and raised in Chicago, growing up amidst a massive crew of grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. She attended Alverno College to study music and education. After briefly considering life in a convent, she opted for the classroom and started her career teaching in Chicago Public Schools.


Janice later stayed home with her kids for several years. During that time, she and her best friend, Lynn Kelly, started a preschool program at New Lenox Community Center, which continues to this day.


In the late 1980s, Janice returned to the classroom at Laraway School, where she spent the next three decades laughing, learning, and making music with her students and colleagues. She started by teaching music, where she put on countless music productions and instilled the love of music in hundreds of kids. She later moved into a fourth grade classroom, where she brought her love of learning and her (somewhat mystifying) love of glitter to hundreds more kids. She loved her Laraway friends and colleagues, and it was extremely hard to leave them when she retired in 2013.


In addition to teaching, Janice was an extremely active church member. She dedicated innumerable hours to the choir at Mokena United Methodist and later focused her energies on the Kids’ Club at Marley Community Church. Her spiritual life was dear to her, and she truly loved her church community.


Janice’s most important roles were mother and grandmother. She would do anything she could to support and show love to Sarah and David. And she loved her four grandkids with her whole heart, focusing intensely on their joys and needs and helping them learn, grow, laugh, and have fun.


Janice was a remarkable, strong, sassy, hilarious woman, mother, grandmother, teacher, and friend. She will be sorely missed. We are all so lucky to have known her.

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