Janice Garrigus O'Brien

 
As for me, like many others apparently, life has had its ups and downs, but the "downs" have helped us to better appreciate the "ups". As for me, I graduated from FSU and taught Jr. High for over 2 years in Melbourne during the early years of the "Space Race". After I married, I also taught in Lantana, Fl for a year before we moved north to Pittsburgh, PA and Cleveland, OH. My husband, JD, was in training for technical sales with Union Carbide. After that, we were selected to go to the Twin Cities in Minnesota. While there, we had two children, Kevin and Kelly. When they both started school, I wanted to go back to teaching fulltime but due to  shrinking school populations there, that didn't work out. So, I went into retailing, teaching adult classes in needlework and crafts at a large department store chain. Later on, I managed a gift shop there also.

In  the fall of 1979, we decided to move back to our "home" state, FL, after living in MN for 12 years. My husband, J.D., had grown up in Jacksonville and still had connections there, so we decided to move to that area of Northeast Fl. We selected Orange Park because Clay county still had neighborhood schools while Duval was busing kids all over. I stayed in retail management and eventually owned my own art gallery and custom frame shop for nearly 20 years. My husband retired early in 1999 from management with the AOL call center here (just before their merging with Time Warner). That year we also bought a restored home in the historic district of Jacksonville- kind of a dream we'd had. The next year I sold my business and retired as well. When our AOL stock went "way south" after the merger with Time Warner, I went back to work for a few years as a private school secretary to get good health insurance ( JD is diabetic). Now I have an interesting but much less stressful job with a Christian missionary training and sending organization headquartered here in Jacksonville for 29 years called Go To Nations ( formerly called Calvery International.
) Check out our website at www.gotonations.org 
 
 Our daughter, Kelly, got her college degree from UCF in Orlando and has worked as a technical writer and trainer. Now she is married with a 4 1/2 yr. old son, and living in Winter Park, FL. Of course Nate, our grandson is our pride and joy! (See picture)
 
 Our son, Kevin, is single and lives in our previous home in Orange Park. I am sharing this about Kevin to let you see how a life can change in a few minutes through no fault of your own.----- He is very special and one of God's miracles... In high school, he had a photographic memory, was a National Merit Finalist and went to GA Tech to be an engineer. However, 15 years ago his whole life and abilities changed. He was assaulted by two men at the Mall in Orange Park apparently trying to steal his car and left for dead. He was diagnosed with catastrophic brain trauma leaving him in a level 1 coma for 4 months. After much prayer from many people, excellent rehabilitation specialists and hard work on his part, he is now able be mostly self sufficient. He lives alone in Orange Park,  can drive and pretty much take care of himself. He is a miracle! A couple of years after he was released from the rehab hospital, I accidentally met up with the nurse he had there. She was amazed at his progress when I told her. She said that when he was admitted, no one knew if he would ever walk again much less be self sufficient. She said that they would tell us that when he was there, because they didn't want to put any negative thoughts in our minds to possibly transmit that to him while he was in the coma.  He had been a very good soccer player up through high school, played tennis, and was very physically active. Although he just recently has been able to start jogging again, his main deficits are still brain related. Even though the doctors said the likelihood of his improvement continuing after 5 years was very slim, we still see some improvements to this day, due to his continued trying to get better. We would love it if he could find a wonderful and understanding woman to marry, and he would like that too, I think, but he enjoys his circle of friends anyway.  Needless to say we are very proud of both of our children.
 
JD and I enjoy traveling as many others have mentioned. We have particularly enjoyed Canada, Ireland, Italy and Alaska. (See picture below). We have also enjoyed cruises and whale watching off of Massachusetts. We hope to do more traveling when I retire again.
 
I have included the picture below from our trip to Alaska in the Spring of 2006. The attached files are our grandson, Nate Wilson on the Saturday before Palm Sunday 2008 age 3 1/2 on an Easter egg hunt at our church and the other is JD & I on our 42nd anniversary, August, 2008.
 




 
 

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