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Obituary for Jan Delaney

Janice Kay “Jan” Delaney was born July 8, 1941 at Flora, Illinois. She was the eldest of four children born to Robert Francis Delaney and Helen Gladys Boze. Jan received her education at Flora, where she graduated from high school in 1959. She continued her schooling at the McKendree College in Lebanon, Illinois before transferring to the George Peabody Teacher’s College in Nashville, Tennessee.  After earning her degree, Jan taught high school English for two years in Louisville, Illinois. She then moved to North Dakota to work in the library at Dickinson State College for two more years.


In 1970 Jan came to Montana where she taught school at Plains, Cut Bank, Inverness, The Gildford Colony, and the Sage Creek Colony. She “fell in love with the Hi-Line” and made her home in Rudyard during the next 30 years. During the summer months or when she wasn’t teaching, Jan stayed busy delivering newspapers, selling books, running a hobby greenhouse, and managing a local restaurant. She loved genealogy and history, so she became very active in researching local historical events. Jan and her Rudyard friend, Lydia Langel, who were like daughter and mother, travelled up-and-down the Hi-Line to document these interesting stories. Together, they identified all of the burials at the Rudyard Cemetery and solicited donations to provide headstones for all of the “unmarked” graves. Jan was also instrumental in acquiring the old Railroad Depot in Rudyard and soliciting funds to have it relocated and remodeled to house the site of the present Rudyard Museum. She spent countless hours on this project with other Rudyard friends to make this the wonderful facility it is today!

 In June, she was fortunate to take one last trip to Rudyard, England to say farewell to the many friends she met during those years of travel…

In 2000 Jan moved to Teller, Alaska to work as a teacher in the Bering Strait School District. During her 14 years there, Jan continued to travel to Montana in the summers to renew old friendships. She enjoyed spending time at her home in Rudyard and at her little “get-a-way” trailer in Plains. Jan kept up on local events through e-mails, phone calls, and news publications. In addition, she wrote a weekly article for the Liberty County Times (Chester, MT) and the Clay County Republic (Flora, IL) newspapers: this article was called “North from Alaska” where Jan shared interesting tidbits about her new life and friends in the north country.


During her time in Alaska, Jan developed a close relationship with a fellow-teacher, Pamela Johnson-Haugan and her family, who hailed from Watford City, N.D. When Jan completed her Alaskan teaching contract in 2014, she moved to Parshall and began teaching in the elementary school. While there she continued to write an article called “Around the Edges” for the Liberty County Times, which kept Hi-Line friends informed about the Bakken oil boom in western North Dakota. Because Jan developed recurring health issues secondary to her breast cancer, she finished her final school year at Parshall this spring. In June, she was fortunate to take one last trip to Rudyard, England to say farewell to the many friends she met during those years of travel and genealogy as it related to the history of Rudyard, MT.

Article by Ray Perry
Comments from the previous website:



Pamela Johnson-Haugan
30TH APRIL 2016

So wonderful to be here and enjoy Rudyard Lake – the place Jan loved so much. Also, such a pleasure to meet the folks who called her friend! Long live her memory.

Doug Manley
20TH MARCH 2017

Jan Delaney was THE teacher who made a difference in my life. I took Senior English from her at Cut Bank High School in the Class of ’68. I’ve often thought of her over the years and her focus on bringing the best out of all her students; encouraging their curiosity, nurturing their intellect, feeding their minds. Am saddened to learn of her illness and death. May she RIP.

Managing Director, Ranger, Volunteer etc at Rudyard Lake


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