Janice Frazee admits to a lifelong love of "going to school," so it is no surprise to those who know her that she is an enthusiastic supporter of the Learning in Retirement organization.
As a precursor to her involvement in the LIR, she pursued an intense interest in "going to school" through Elderhostel excursions, completing seven of them, including the Santa Fe Trail, Daniel Boone in Missouri, the history and culture of San Antonio and the Mardi Gras. Going to school has literally been the story of Jan's life.
Born and raised in Lomira, Wisconsin, Jan was one of 29 in her high school graduating class. Classmates continue to meet for reunions every five years.
In 1946 she enrolled at Oshkosh State Teachers College in teacher preparation; eight years later she completed a master's degree in curriculum and instruction at what is now UW Milwaukee. Her specialization in gifted and talented education required an additional 30 credits, which included a comparative course in Italy during the summer of 1970. Jan's family accompanied her to help make it a vacation as well as a school experience.
Her family has been a strong support in her life, especially since the untimely death of her husband when the children were only 8, 11 and 14 years old. A Sheboygan resident at the time, Jan served as her church treasurer, while her husband was the church organist and choirmaster. His grandfather had begun the Frazee Organ Company in Massachusetts, still a family-run enterprise there.
The “going to school” theme prevailed then and later as she completed 30 years of teaching in Wisconsin. Although she taught all of the elementary school grades, her favorite experience was teaching a combined classroom of third and fourth graders. In addition to its allowing her to mold her young students and instill in them a love of learning, the circumstance also tapped her creative energy since there was no text for the class.
With the exception of two years in Rockford, Illinois, Jan and her family have been Wisconsin residents. In 1991 she moved to Oshkosh where her daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren already resided. Her son Christopher lives in Madison.
Jan has been a powerful force in helping to launch LIR. She served on the administration and finance committee last year and continues as the treasurer and member of the steering committee.
"The LIR organization fills the school niche and satisfies my passion for being with people, studying culture, reading and learning," says Jan. We doubt that this student will ever stop going to school.