Janet Anne Personette, of Niles

Sept. 24, 1945 – Oct. 6, 2018

Janet Anne Personette, 73, of Niles, passed away peacefully at her daughter, Pauline Hyatt’s, home on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018, with her family by her side.

Jan was born on Sept. 24, 1945, in New York City and at the age of about 6 months she was adopted by Paul and Pauline (Hefner) Steele. When Jan was about 9 years old she and her parents moved from South Bend, Indiana to the Twin Lakes area in Dowagiac, Michigan. She graduated from Dowagiac Union High School in 1964. She moved to Chicago in her early 20s, living there only a few years and moved back to Dowagiac in 1966.

Janet Anne Personette

Jan went on to wed Joseph “Ted” Kella and raised two children, Teddi and Reeni. The two later divorced and Jan wed Richard Personette and the couple had one son, Trenton Andrew Personette.

She remained there, raising her two daughters. She was a school bus driver for Dowagiac Schools for 18 years and a member of the Twin Lakes Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary. In 1986, Jan moved to Long Island, New York with her son, where she lived until 1990. Jan and her son then moved to Huntington, Indiana, but they did not remain there long. Just two years later, in October 1992, Jan moved to Niles, to live with her daughter, Teddi, and her love of Niles began! She worked at WNIL part-time up until about six months before her death.

Anyone who knew Jan knew she was unpretentious and loved the color purple. I am sure she is in Heaven campaigning to have purple wings. You would instantly know this because she most likely would be wearing the color from head to toe, literally, every single day. She was affectionately known as the “Purple Lady.” Many would say that you could tell Jan was a community activist because within a few minutes, of meeting her, she would have probably tried to recruit you for a cause.  She is most likely up in Heaven already asking someone to help with a cause or asking them for a donation sporting her purple coat and purple hat. You could also tell that she was a passionate, unconventional, woman who had a fire in her soul. Jan was a champion for Niles and the south county area. Her family said Jan would tell them, “You should watch the news at six tonight.” And they would tune in and find out her was being interviewed about something. She attended any meeting she could, she put everything she had in to her little town. Yet, no one knows the extent of every activity she did, because she was never one to brag or boast about the wonderful things she had accomplished.

She was preceded in death by her parents and her sister, Mary Rose Steele, her dogs Cookie, Dandelion, Tess, and good friend, Theadora Esther Neumann, whom she named her oldest daughter after.

Jan is survived by her children, Theadora “Teddi” (Albert Fuller) Kella of Niles, Pauline “Reeni” (Larry) Hyatt of Niles, and Trenton (Sandie Kohltfarber) Personette of Coeur’ D’Alene, Idaho; grandchildren, Taylor, Alexi Fuller, Dale, Cloey, Aaren, and Kaleb; granddogs, Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Shady, and Dudley; brother, John (Janice DeRosa) Steele of Mineola, New York; close personal friends, Pat Rockhill and Gloria “Jean” Watson as well as many extended family members and close friends.

To show support of Jan and her purple passion, everyone is encouraged to wear purple to Jan’s visitation and funeral. Visitation will be on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018, at Brown Funeral Home from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. Funeral service and celebration of Jan’s life will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 11 at Brown Funeral Home

A funeral fund has been set up to help Jan’s children and in lieu of flowers donations may be made by calling the funeral home, mail a donation to 521 East Main Street, Niles or by visiting https://fundthefuneral.com/jan-personette

Condolences, photos, and memories may be left for the family at www.BrownFuneralHomeNiles.com.

Arrangements have been entrusted to Brown Funeral Home & Cremation Services, of Niles.

Berrien County

Berrien County Commissioners sign resolution asking state to restore county revenue share

News

Niles Renaissance Faire to return in May

Berrien County

United Way of Southwest Michigan’s director of advocacy chosen for selective statewide advocacy program

Dowagiac

Salvation Army receives grant from The Pokagon Fund for emergency financial assistance

Edwardsburg

South Bend man injured in Edwardsburg car vs train accident

Buchanan

School, community partner to bring bikes to Buchanan students

Edwardsburg

Edwardsburg church collecting donations for southwest Michigan veterans

News

Niles native calls for photography submissions

News

Video shows altercation at flag football game in Niles

Breaking News

Fire contained at former Niles Inn

Brandywine Education

Former Brandywine teacher charged with accosting a minor for immoral purposes, use of a computer to commit a felony

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Berrien County reports two COVID-19 deaths

Berrien County

4-H announces alumni, supporters walking challenge

Education

Ballard Elementary, Niles High School to remain remote through end of the week

Business

Niles real estate agent named Realtor of the Year

News

Evergreen Road special assessment district created

Cass County

Cass County millages on the ballot for May 4

Dowagiac

Dowagiac announces March students of the month

Buchanan

Local provisioning centers celebrate cannabis holiday with sales, overcome software snags

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Michigan reports 799,140 cases, 16,986 deaths

Dowagiac

DUS to install classroom phones in elementary schools, high school

Berrien County

Berrien County 4-H Leaders Association sets annual meeting

Dowagiac

DUS Board of Education honors Class of 2021 Top 10

Buchanan

Buchanan HCU member center lands new leadership