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Janis A. Briggs

Canterbury, N.H. — Janis A. Briggs, age 73, died peacefully at home on Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, after living with cancer for more than four years. Jan, as she was known to her friends, is survived by her husband Craig; four children, Amy Briggs of Chicago, Ill., Jennifer Latham and her husband, Michael, of Somers, N.Y., Sarah Hill and her husband, Bud of Plainfield N.H. and John Briggs and his wife, Stacey of Keller, Texas; and her four grandchildren, Maile Latham, Anya Latham, Sophia Briggs and Ava Briggs.

Jan was a talented musician who shared her gifts with her students and her community. Her devotion to teaching music spanned more than 50 years.

She was a public school music teacher and, in retirement, gave private lessons. She instilled in her students not only a love for music, but also an appreciation for the role music plays in shaping history.

Her ability to integrate music into the public school curriculum brought historical events to life and greatly enriched classroom instruction. Her contributions to education were recognized in 2001 when, as the elementary school music teacher at the Belmont Elementary School, she was Teacher of the Year and nominated for N.H. State Teacher of the Year. Many of her former students have gone on to become fine musicians and music educators, a testament to Jan’s ability to pass on to others a love and appreciation for music of all genres.

Jan’s talents and accomplishments were many and went far beyond the realm of music. They included running three marathons, (she began running at age 54) several half marathons and numerous trail runs. Always up for adventure, she traveled to Oslo, Norway to run in Grete Waitz’ Løpet, a 5k run with 60,000 women.

She was an avid hiker and climbed all 48 of of New Hampshire’s 4,000’ mountains, many twice. For many years she maintained a large organic garden on the family farm and canned large quantities of vegetables and fruits for her family.

For those who knew and loved Jan, she was above all, a generous and kind human being. It was her nature to be unassuming and modest. She was devoted to her family, and to her pets. Her cats, Millie and Max, and her golden retriever Piper were at her bedside throughout her illness. She will be deeply missed by her family and friends, but her spirit will live on in those who knew her loving presence.

Family and friends are invited to a celebration of Jan’s life and of her return to God on Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013 at 1 p.m. in Canterbury Center at the Parish Hall. In lieu of flowers, those who wish to do so may make a contribution in Jan’s name to the New Hampshire Humane Society or a charity of their choice.