Janie Lee Orr Geriene


Last updated 3/15/2018 at Noon

Janie Lee Geriene died in her sleep on Jan. 8 at her home in Kenmore, Washington.

She was born Janie Lee Orr in Wichita, Kansas, to Leslie Milton Orr and Charlene Bernice Mclean on Feb. 1, 1934. She had two siblings, Marylin Orr Bassett and Danford Orr.

Always bright in school, Janie rarely studied, relying on her near photographic memory to get through exams. She was a gifted athlete, ballet and figure skating among her many talents.

But she was also adventurous in nature, going against her parents’ wishes and boarding a train on her 18th birthday for the last frontier: Alaska.

She met a young man and pilot named Verlyn Geriene, a Ritzville native, who soon became her husband.

Fearless as always, she started raising a family in Kodiak, Alaska, while her husband flew the Alaskan Bush. While there, she gave birth to six of their seven children.

They faced many challenges, including the 1964 Alaskan Earthquake. The devastation from the subsequent tidal waves made it clear it was time to move on.

With her family in tow, she followed Verlyn in every move from Kodiak to Nassau, Bahamas; to Rocky Mount and Kinston, North Carolina; to Mendham, New Jersey.

In Mendham, in 1975, Verlyn was diagnosed with Leukemia. He wanted to move home to die, back to Ritzville, so again she moved her entire family across country.

Through Verlyn’s treatment, they lived at the farm of Edward and Lucille Thom, his parents, and their children attended Ritzville schools.

Verlyn miraculously overcame the cancer and eventually died on April 8, 2014.

The family moved to Seattle and Janie and Verlyn divorced in 1986. Janie then moved in with her son, Krist and his wife Jamie, where she spent the rest of her life.

She was preceded in death by her parents and her sister, Marylin Bassett.

Janie is survived by her brother, Danford Orr and her children Marc (Hera) Geriene and their children, Mara and Jean Marc; Leslie Ann Heidemann and her children Kathy, Stasia and Erin; Krist (Jamie) Geriene and their children, Justin and Nikka; Briana Storms and her children Savannah and Donovan; Bristan and his children, Jered and Nathan; Stasia (Scott) Moe and their children, Jacob, Matthew, and Andrew; and Ashley (Mike) Read and their children, Max and Paris; 15 great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren.

Janie was most proud of her family and happy to have lived so many adventures. She was loved by all and she will be greatly missed.

A private celebration of life will be held at the home of her daughter, Stasia Moe on March 17 in Snohomish.


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