After a brief illness, Jan Doerr passed away November 2nd.
Health, Naturally will remain open and operational in her memory.
In Memory of Jan Doerr
I would like to introduce myself. My name is Barb Casper. I am one of the staff members at Health, Naturally. Currently, I maintain and update Health, Naturally’s digital assets.
As many of you know, but some may not, Jan Doerr passed away November 2nd, 2021 after a brief illness.
To put this ‘in memoriam’ article into context, I would like to explain the AMAZING JOURNEY that led to my friendship with Jan. Jan and I crossed paths for over 30 years before I landed a job as a store clerk and became a client at Health, Naturally, which led to our ‘forever’ friendship.
Our First Encounter – In 1977, I was enrolled in the pre-physical therapy curriculum/program at U of M before I decided to change my career path. Switching things up, I enrolled in the Therapeutic Recreation program at Central Michigan University, where Jan was already attending. We both ended up in several classes together and, eventually, both of us earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Therapeutic Recreation.
Directly after graduation, Jan was offered a job as a therapeutic recreation specialist in the substance abuse program at Bay Medical Center (now known as McLaren Bay Region). Jan continued her studies at CMU and earned her Masters of Science in Therapeutic Recreation. Meanwhile, I landed a job working in the U.P. at the Newberry State Hospital. I was laid off from my state position after three years of employment and began actively looking for work across the country. As fate would have it, I ended up getting hired at Bay Medical Center in their mental health department. Wow, Jan and I found ourselves employed at the same hospital, different departments!
Jan then met and married Tom Doerr on May 20, 1983. Shortly thereafter, I ended up dating one of Tom’s friends. Tom’s friend was a friend of one of Jan’s former employees. This employee ended up transferring to my department and I became his supervisor. He introduced me to the guy I dated. Convoluted! Yep!
I married in 1985 (different guy) and had two sons. Jan had 3 sons.
Around 1990, I went back to college and received a degree in graphic design. After college, I got a job working at Sunrise Printing and Publications (the Arenac Independent newspaper) in Standish. Unbeknownst to me, Jan was already working at the Standish Long Term Care Facility as the director of the Therapeutic Recreation Department. Part of her role, one she was very proud of, was managing the Senior Olympics program. Our paths crossed once again when I spoke with her by phone on many occasions about designing ads promoting the Senior Olympics program.
Jan went on to study at the Naturopathic Institute of Therapies and Education where she received her degree as a natural health therapist and educator. She then received her Doctorate from The Clayton College of Natural Health. Soon after, Jan opened Health, Naturally in Standish and in Bay City.
During this same time period, my sons had grown and were attending John Glenn High School. Guess where Jan’s boys ended up going to high school? Yep, you got it! Another path crossed! Our sons played soccer together for several years. Jan and I reconnected and caught up with our lives on the soccer field sidelines.
Our paths merge
By this time, my health had declined significantly and Jan noticed. Being as thoughtful and caring as she was, she mailed me a certificate for a free visit to Health, Naturally. It took me some time to reach out for help. When I did, Jan hired me part-time as one of HN’s store clerks and she also provided many natural health services on my behalf.
The help I received at Health, Naturally has led to my “healing”. Sometimes “cures” elude us but healing awaits everyone who is willing to look beyond reason, science, and our earthly understanding of who we are and what we are capable of. I believe we are all capable of our own natural healing. I found that answer thanks to Jan, the wonderful team at Health, Naturally and Jan’s healing circle of so many other caring individuals.
Jan was one of those rare individuals who felt it more important to give than receive. I am so proud and blessed to have called her my friend. She believed in me and kept trying even when many others had given up on me ever getting “well”.
Look up at the sky. There is a light, a beauty up there,
that no shadow can touch. – J.R.R. Tolkien
As many of you know, Jan loved butterflies. Art is one of the ways that help me express myself and heal at a different level. The image above was designed with Jan in mind. You see, I believe Jan has joined the butterfly angels and continues her calling. She will always be there to guide us in the knowledge that change and growth is possible no matter the circumstances. All we have to do is remind ourselves and encourage others to be cognizant of the incredible metamorphosis of the butterfly. Life after death is evidence of this same transformation.
To her family, friends, coworkers and clients, if you ever need her, I encourage you to look up. There you will find her shining brightly, lighting your path, and helping you find your way, too.
Jan touched many lives and this is just one story of her giving heart and her dedication to the health and well-being of everyone she met.
Thanks Jan for all you did for me. Our friendship was a path that was meant to be traveled!