Janet H. Kocornik died peacefully at her daughter's home in Little Rock, Arkansas on November 3rd, 2023, surrounded by her family, after a brief bout with aggressive thyroid cancer.
Born to parents Althea and James Hitchcock, Janet and her sister Suzanne had itinerant Depression Era childhoods. She graduated from Sunbury, PA high school in 1950, attended Duke University for one year, and then worked in New York City, where she met her future husband, Charles (Coke) Kocornik, to whom she remained married for 56 years until his death in 2012.
Janet and Coke provided a very stable, nurturing, happy home in Pompton Plains, NJ for their four children. Janet was a stay-at-home mother/night school college student while the kids were small, earning a Masters of Library Science from William Paterson College. Once the children were older, Janet spent many years as a middle school librarian in Pompton Lakes, NJ. Surprisingly, this job included chaperoning annual wilderness expeditions with students. She also became a realtor, and volunteered with multiple community organizations, including the first aid squad, hospital auxiliary, Girl Scouts, and the Parks and Recreation Commission. She was the driving force behind the construction of the first BMX bike track built by a municipality in the United States.
In 1989 Janet and Coke sold their home in New Jersey, purchased an RV, and planned to travel for a year to find their retirement community. Nine adventure and grandchildren packed years later, after traveling to every corner of the country (including Alaska), they finally “settled" in Texas. They continued traveling widely nationally and internationally. They were both active American Red Cross volunteers, assisting at disasters all over the country. They moved to Little Rock, Arkansas in 2011 to be closer to family and medical services.
If Janet had a motto, we think it would have been "be useful.” Well into her eighties, she was a valuable and reliable “hand” at her grandson’s farm. She continued with the Little Rock Red Cross until two years ago and also volunteered with CASA and the Clinton Center. Many of the residents of her independent living facility actually thought she was an employee rather than a resident, as she organized the library and often helped with meals. She stayed active and sharp until the end - just two months ago she was boogieing at her granddaughter's wedding in Colorado.
In addition to her husband, Coke, Janet was preceded in death by her sister Suzanne MacGregor and granddaughter, Carlie Moe. She is survived by her children, Jennifer Long (Greg), Diana Kocornik (Eric Moorhouse), Pamela Kiser (Tom), and Charles Kocornik (Maggie Shirley), 11 grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews. She set an example of extraordinary energy and service. Janet is sorely missed by her family, friends, and communities. She left the world a better place.
At Janet's request there will be no public service. In lieu of flowers please consider donating to the American Red Cross.
Arrangements by Arkansas Cremation, 10515 W Markham St, Ste B1, Little Rock, AR 72205.
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