Janet Nieska Ricke

RICKE, JanetJanet Nieska Ricke, 83, a longtime resident of Texas City, died peacefully Tuesday, November 17, 2015.
She was preceded in death by her husband Kenneth Eugene Ricke, and her parents Rufus Oliver Johnstone and Mary Nieska Johnstone, her brothers George Oliver Johnstone and Edward Lee Johnstone.
Janet was born on Galveston Island, the youngest of three children.
She attended Ball High School, graduating in 1949. She loved to dance and play tennis.
During high school she met the love of her life, Kenneth Eugene Ricke. They were married November 23, 1949 and remained happily in love for 64 years until Kenneth’s death in 2013.
Janet and Kenneth raised four children, Karen Smith of Wimberley, Mike Ricke of Bryan, Tim Ricke of Bayou Vista, and Kathryn Mellott of League City, Texas, all of whom survive her. They also helped raise their foster son Brett Carl Tand of Houston, Texas.
Janet graduated with honors from University of Houston at Clear Lake with a degree in education. After having had her own private kindergarten, The Little Red Caboose, for a number of years, she ‘graduated’ to teaching first grade at Heights Elementary School in Texas City. During that time she was also Curriculum Director for Religious Education at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church.
She and Kenneth enjoyed dancing together including participation in The Texas City Dance Club and the Texas City Square Dance Club.
Janet will always be remembered for her civic and community volunteering. She started this meaningful practice of giving back to others as a young girl. Her first experience as a volunteer was in 1947 after the Texas City explosion. She became a candy striper volunteer at the local hospital in Galveston. As lifetime members of St. Michael’s Church she and Kenneth became part of the Young Peoples’ Service League as sponsors. “It was a perfect job for us—we loved it. In everything we have done, we have been a team, helping each other, laughing as much as we can and trying to roll with the punches!” Janet also participated in St. Michael’s Altar Guild and was a Daughter of the King.
Later in life, Janet’s work as a community volunteer went on to include eight years at Mainland Medical Center. Most recently, she volunteered her time to the Women’s Crisis and Pregnancy Center’s Thrift Shop, “Elizabeth’s Place,” and the Hospice Care Team. She was devoted to the volunteers at the Hospice Care Team, and also participated as a Lay Chaplain for The Community of Hope in Galveston, Texas. Janet was the recipient of the Frist Humanitarian Award in 2008 for volunteering, recognizing remarkable concern for the welfare and happiness of patients, a commitment to community service beyond daily operations, and contributions overshadowed due to personal modesty and genuine humility.
Janet has nine grandchildren: Jennifer Kennon, Aimee Smith, Nathan Smith, Dana Holder Hunt, Allison Ricke, Amanda Ricke, J.T. Craig, Bridget Craig, and Kim Spratley. Her great grandchildren are Jordyn Kennon, Kalyn Bolton, Christina Bolton, Destiny Deaton, Hendrik Hunt, Isaac Allen Hunt, Conner Spratley and Mia Spratley.
Janet is also survived by her nieces and nephews, John Johnstone, Clifford Johnstone, Judy Johnstone Smith, and Alan Johnstone, children of Edward Lee Johnstone and Jo Allen Johnstone, who are deceased; Mark Johnstone and Dean Johnstone, sons of George O. and Marguerite Johnstone, who are deceased; also Tricia Davis, Jean Ann Glass and Nancy Lynn Proctor Conoly.
All of Janet’s children wish to express their gratitude for the blessing of having Janet in their lives as such a loving mother. She was incredibly devoted to her husband and children in every way. Together with her husband Kenneth, they created a home of love, patience and generosity. Our home was the solid rock of every gathering; everyone was welcome, including from time to time a stranger who needed a loving household in which to be.
They taught us that God is Love, and therefore deserves our complete devotion by faith and by the actions we take in life. Janet will be sorely missed every day of our lives, and yet we are comforted and strengthened by the spirit of her love and devotion to God, who has welcomed her home.
Memorial services will be held on Saturday, November 21, 2015 at 10 a.m. at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, on the corner of Lake Road and Magnolia Road in La Marque, Texas, followed by a luncheon in the Parish Hall. Arrangements are under the direction of the James Crowder Funeral Home in La Marque.
In lieu of flowers, family and friends may donate to the Hospice Care Team in Texas City or to St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in La Marque.

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