January 29, 1945 – December 30, 2020
Janis Anne Giesecke was born on January 29, 1945 in Llano, Texas to Anna Mae Garrett and Hugh O. Eckel, where she lived until age 9. Her mother later married Don H. Bridges, Jr. and they moved to Marble Falls.
She had one brother, Don H. Bridges, III. Don Bridges, Jr. legally adopted Janis when she was 14, after her mother was tragically killed in a car wreck. Don moved to San Marcos to operate a business, so Janis, not wanting to leave her beloved friends, stayed her senior year with one of her lifelong, dearest friends — Kara Nell Kinser Hall and her family.
During high school, she dated the love of her life, Richie Giesecke, who lovingly called her “Red” or “Redbird”. She was a cheerleader, tennis player, class favorite, and Homecoming Queen. She attended one year of college in San Marcos, but put that on the back burner so that she and Richie could marry on June 6, 1964. She worked while he completed his college education at the University of Texas in Austin.
They made their lifelong home in Marble Falls. She was involved in a local sorority, tennis groups, many community events, loved the Marble Falls Library, was a member of the Birding Society, and was a regular at all of the local sports events. She was active in her beloved Baptist and Methodist churches, where she was in bell choir at both.
She worked for Dr. Ivan Shepperd as a nurse before becoming a fulltime mother upon the birth of their daughter, Amy, in 1969. Their son, Mark, was born in 1972. She devoted her life to her husband and children. She was an encourager and supporter to them, doing whatever it took to help them realize their dreams. She taxied her children to countless tennis tournaments, baseball practices and games, karate lessons, piano lessons, dance lessons, football games, concerts, friends’ houses, birthday parties, swimming pools, and church services. She was an avid reader and rarely was she seen without a book in her hand. Under any circumstance, she would say, “I’m ok. I’ve got my book.” That served her well, as she spent hundreds of hours waiting in the car for the kids to be finished. She also survived some long overtimes at Mark’s baseball games because she was prepared.
She and Richie had a home that embraced her children’s friends. It was open to all and she always told people to “make yourself at home” - and she meant it. Social gatherings were common, and she was happy to have a place where the kids wanted to hang out. But though she was little, she could be fierce; and she did come with a strong “Momma Warning” to those enjoying themselves: Do NOT tear anything up and DO NOT WAKE YOUR FATHER!”
When her children were in high school and college, she finally was able to get back to realizing her own dream of completing a college education. She graduated from ACC with a degree in Nursing and obtained her RN license. We were so incredibly proud of her and she inspired so many, through her encouraging words and her actions, to never give up on their dreams – even if you have to take a detour. Over her nursing career, she worked as a home health, hospice (Nurse of the Year 1995), MHMR, and school nurse. She left nursing to be a full-time homemaker and grandmother so that she could enjoy the moments with her children and grandchildren.
She loved books (almost always on loan from the MF Public Library), crosswords, birdwatching, hunting for treasure with a metal detector, traveling, meeting her lifelong besties for get-togethers, helping with Meals on Wheels, and watching whatever event was going on at the time with her grandchildren. She was incredibly strong in her faith and knew Jesus personally. At the end of her life, she and Richie spent hours in quarantine watching church services on TV.
She and Richie were married for 56 ½ years. In her final days, she was only comfortable when she was with him. She asked two questions repeatedly — questions that revealed parts of her unclaimed by Dementia: her deepest connection to this earth and her servant’s heart —“Where’s Richie?” and “Can I help you?” Richie was with his Redbird as she flew away for the last time.
Janis leaves behind her husband, Richie Giesecke; daughter, Amy Giesecke; son, Mark Giesecke and Stephanie Rhodes; sisterin-law, Jan Giesecke Downs and husband Bill Downs; grandchildren: Cade DeSpain, Dillon DeSpain, Katie Giesecke, Rhett Giesecke, Darryn Gamez, Zackary Rhodes, Kaitlyn Rhodes, Carter Rhodes, Cheyenne Delahoya, Shelbi Black, Chambrey Delahoya; and nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, Don and Anna Mae Bridges; brother, Don Bridges; Baby Girl Giesecke in 1967.
Pallbearers will be her grandsons: Cade DeSpain, Dillon DeSpain, Rhett Giesecke, Darryn Gamez, Zackary Rhodes, Carter Rhodes, and Ed Atwood.
The family would like to express their most sincere gratitude to those who helped care for and love Janis during the past few years as her Dementia progressed: Dena Beard, Sharon Chinn, Maria Sanchez, and Rubye Granstaff; as well as her very dear friends, Kara Nell Hall and Cissy Atchison.
The family has requested that anyone wishing to express sympathy in memory of Janis through monetary gifts, please consider supporting the Marble Falls Public Library, or an organization of your choice that supports researching a cure for Alzheimers/Dementia.
Funeral Service will be Tuesday, January 5, 2020, at 10 a.m. at First United Methodist Church, Marble Falls and Burial will be at the Marble Falls City Cemetery.
Online condolences may be made at clementswilcoxfuneralhome.com.