LASLEY (Olney), Janet

Janet Olney Lasley, a resident of Centerville, peacefully passed away on January 26, 2023, lovingly surrounded by family at Hospice of Dayton. She lived a rich and beautiful life. Janet was 73.

Janet is survived by her husband, Thomas J Lasley, II; daughters Julianne Garrison (Jeff) and Elizabeth Lasley Cameron (Chase); "adopted" daughter Mariana Alzuguir; nine grandchildren Erin Burt, Brandon Burt, Elaina Cameron, Leah Cameron, Anna Cameron, Layne Garrison, Kayla Garrison, Karlyn Garrison and Luke Garrison, and four siblings, Beth Lazzaro (Bob), Tom Olney (Nancy), Brian Olney (Nancy) and Amy Dolan (Mike).

Born January 14, 1950, in Rochester, New York, Janet was the eldest child of Virginia and Clayton Olney. Janet grew up surrounded by farmland and an apple orchard. She often reminisced about her precious memories from childhood: gardening with her dad, camping with the family and visiting extended family in Virginia. One of her favorite childhood memories included studying abroad in France at the age of 16. She also played trumpet in her high school marching band and played piano from a young age.

Janet loved culture, art and travel in her early days, and in her adult life journeyed to some of her favorite places throughout the world, with family trips to Europe and special trips with family and close friends to the Great Wall of China, Machu Picchu, Ecuador and Bosnia. Her family is grateful to have had an eventful trip to London and Edinburgh this past summer with their entire family.

Janet and Tom were married 49 years. The two met working over college summer break at Green Lake Christian Conference Center in Green Lake, WI. At that time, Janet attended Suny Brockport, then transferred to The Ohio State University when their relationship became more serious. She earned her art education degree from OSU in 1971 and her master's degree from the University of Dayton in 1985.

After their wedding in 1973, Tom and Janet began their married lives together in Columbus. Janet selflessly supported Tom throughout his life, while also teaching art in several schools including Groveport-Madison and then after moving to Washington Township in 1983, in Dayton Public Schools and Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School, where she retired in 2015. During Julianne and Elizabeth's younger years, Janet taught private art classes to help share her love of the arts with others. She worked as a picture lady in her daughters' classrooms and led their Girl Scout troops. She was a devoted, loving, intensely creative force in her daughters' lives.

Janet loved teaching and guiding children, but she especially loved working with teenagers. She taught middle and high school art for almost 30 years, worked with the youth group at First Baptist Church, and after retirement worked at a place she held dear, Caesar Creek State Park, as a naturalist often leading school groups on exploratory hikes.

Janet devoted most of her time during retirement to art, nature, and spending time with family and friends. She co-created Women Strong, a group of artists focused on using art to celebrate the strength and talents of women. Janet also became a certified naturalist. She spent hundreds of hours removing honeysuckle, hunting for wild edibles, and hiking through the woods. She loved working at the nature center at Caesar Creek and was an active member and former President of the Dayton Area Wild Ones.

Janet believed deeply in community outreach and service. She supported the Dayton Peace Accords celebrations, including the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, worked for Habitat for Humanity, and embarked on many mission/work trips including trips to Ecuador with the Tandana Foundation.

Janet was so proud of her grandchildren and their accomplishments: Erin studying at Purdue, Brandon focusing on golf and school studies, Elaina exploring artistic talents, Leah voraciously reading and writing, Anna finding joy with plants and insects, and Layne, Kayla, Karlyn and Luke all finishing college studies and post-secondary degrees.

Janet never lost faith in those she loved. She demonstrated this relentlessly with her husband, children, grandchildren, extended family, many wonderful friends, yoga partners, Caesar Creek colleagues, fellow artists in Women's Strong, The First Baptist Church of Dayton, communities at Chaminade Julienne and the University of Dayton, and conservationist and naturalist advocates.

A Celebration of Life service will be held on Saturday, February 4, 2023, 10:30 am at First Baptist Church of Dayton, 111 W. Monument Ave, Dayton, OH 45402.

Donations in memory of Janet should be made to the Clayton and Virginia Olney Endowed Scholarship at the University of Dayton at or to UD Advancement, 300 College Park, Dayton, Ohio 45469-7056. The family also asks that all those who knew Janet continue to support the causes and organizations Janet embraced as a way in which to honor her legacy.

Let Janet's light shine through those she touched with her love, time, talent and attention. She is truly leaving the world a better place.

"Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth, find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature - the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter." - Rachel Carson

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