Freida Janice (Simler) Shell, known by many as Janice, Jan or better yet, Grandma Jan, was born June 11th, 1929, in Woodland, ID, to parents Frank W. Simler, and Ruth M. (Moon) Simler. Grandma Jan grew up in the Woodland area, attending school, until she outgrew their school system and attended Kamiah High School in Kamiah, ID. There she played basketball and trumpet in the Marching Band. Once she graduated, she pursued additional education at Lewis & Clark Normal College in Lewiston, ID, where she earned her Teaching Certificate. Upon graduating College, she moved to Wallowa, OR where she met her future, and current Husband Leverne Shell. They were married on December 26th, 1960. She and Leverne both taught at the school, and raised their 3 children, John, David, and Kathy. During the summers, they would travel to Glacier National Park, where Leverne worked for the park service until school was set to start up again.
In 1962 the family moved to Nyssa, OR, where they welcomed their 4th child Charlie into the mix. Grandma Jan started and ran a kindergarten in the basement of their home and continued that for several years. Grandma Jan then focused on raising their children. Once Charlie entered high school, Grandma Jan began working in the Library at the Nyssa Elementary School. She really enjoyed her time working there, as she talked fondly of helping the young children learn to find the books or information they were looking for. Grandma Jan, then went back to school to become an EMT, where she spent many years as a volunteer on the Nyssa Ambulance. When they both retired from the school system, the couple began to travel, visiting Texas, Arizona, and Kentucky.
Grandma Jan planned, or thought everything out, and was meticulous on her details. This led to her designing their forever home, which was handicap accessible, as she knew one day it would be needed. This was prior to the internet being available for referencing information. Often visiting, almost daily, the site of their home as it was being constructed. It was in 1996 that the home was completed, and they finally moved in. Their new home was perfect for family gatherings, birthday parties, Thanksgivings, Christmas’, and bbq’s. In the winter months gatherings, Grandma Jan would clear out the 3 car garage so the grandkids and great grandkids could have a place to run around and play when the family got together.
It's hard to compress 94 years of experiences, memories, knowledge passed down from Grandma Jan, so here are two of our favorites. Every Sunday, Grandma would put a pot roast in the oven before heading to church, and when they got home she would add the potatos and fixings. Sunday evenings was Grandma’s time to rest, so Grandpa would always make a big bowl of homemade popcorn and dinner was fend for yourself.
The second was a horrible memory at the time, but comical now, and taught all of us grandkids to make decisions. One summer, grandma was watching the 5 oldest grandkids every weekday, all of whom were either elementary age or just beginning elementary school. Grandma repeatedly asked what they wanted for lunch and nobody would make a suggestion, then complained when they didn’t like what she made. So, Grandma found out they all ate hot dogs one lunch, nobody complained, and for the entire summer that’s all they had for lunch. She would mix up the style of hot dogs, but you can only have hot dogs so many ways. What made it even worse, was Grandpa Verne, being a school teacher, had summers off…..so guess what he got stuck eating every day too? Needless to say, the next summer, all the grandkids had a list of suggestions for lunch.
She was preceded in Death by her Parents, Frank and Ruth Simler, Sister Naomi Babcock, Brothers; Don Simler, Dean (Evelyn) Simler, Glenn (Verla) Simler, son David Shell, and granddaughter Elizabeth Shell.
She is survived by her Husband Leverne Shell. Sister-in-law Debbie Simler, Children: John Shell, Kathy (Kevin) Clarich, and Charlie Shell, Daughter-in-law Alicia Shell, Grandchildren: Travis Shell, Scott Shell, Kimberly (Armando) Estillore, Jason, (Carrie) Clarich, Nick (Marianne) Clarich, Emily (Sean) Coady, Matthew Shell, Angela Shell, Nicole Shell. As well as numerous nieces, nephews, great grandkids, and great great grandkids. Grandma Jan was an honorary grandma to unofficial kids, grandkids, great grandkids that grandma welcomed with open arms throughout the years.
There will be a celebration of life for Grandma Jan to be scheduled at a later date, and the family asks that in lieu of flowers, please donate to the American Cancer Society, which Grandma Jan was a big advocate for.