On Monday, March 6, 2023, Martha "Janice" Caskey Sills, passed away at the age of 93 in Austin, Texas with her family by her side.
Janice was born on November 24, 1929, in Quanah, Texas to William Hermon Caskey and Martha Frances Gilliland Caskey. Three years later her brother, John Hermon, was born. She grew up in Quanah with the wonderful privilege of having grandparents, great- grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins from both sides of the family in her life during these years. At age 16, she left home to attend college at Texas State College for Women (now Texas Woman's University).
During her first year at college in 1946, she met Louis G. Sills, through friend and family connections. Louis's cousin, Charles, had married the sister of her good friend, Dorothea, who felt she and Louis should meet even though he was an "old" man, six years her senior. Dorothea was spot on with the match! Janice and Louis married on June 18, 1949 in Quanah, Texas.
During the early years of their marriage, Janice and Louis made frequent moves due to Louis's work from Quanah to Pampa, to Lubbock, back to Quanah then back to Lubbock again in 1958. Along the way they had two daughters, Cyndi and Jan. She enjoyed this part of her life telling her daughters in her later years she always wanted to be a wife, a mother, and a homemaker and she was blessed to have done this.
With the move to Lubbock, this gave Janice an opportunity to complete her college education. She graduated from Texas Tech University receiving a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education in 1963 and began her teaching career at Posey Elementary. In 1966, the family moved to Bryan, Texas when Louis took a position at Texas A&M with the State Feed and Fertilizer Control Service. Bryan became their long-time home, which was perfect as Louis had graduated from A&M and it gave Janice the opportunity to further her education and become a true Aggie herself. She received a Learning Disability Certification then a Master of Education degree from Texas A&M in 1975. She taught in the Bryan Public School District from 1966 to 1985 in elementary and special education classes as well as becoming a home-bound teacher in the latter years.
Janice described herself as being a " teacher, a retired teacher, a wife, a mother, a crafter and always involved in my church." She attended the First Methodist Church in Bryan for over 40 years until she moved to be closer to her kids and was very involved with Sunday school, church services, and various committees and activities. She did love crafting! She said her favorite classes in school were "anything to do with crafting". And she shared this love with her children and grandchildren keeping hands and minds busy helping develop their creativity. Her specific interests included needlework, pressed flowers, dolls and dollhouses. Louis built her a beautiful dollhouse which she decorated and furnished with dollhouse furniture from her childhood. This was a favorite of the grands and great-grands.
Janice deeply loved her family, including an extended family of cousins, nieces, nephews and friends. She was a much-loved grandmother and great grandmother with three grandchildren and seven great grandchildren whom she showered with love and attention. Being a teacher, she had extra time in the summer to spoil the grands and loved taking them for a week of fun whether in Bryan or on the road. Family get-togethers and reunions with food and fun were an important part of her life as were Friday nights playing bridge or 42 with her friends. Janice valued and cherished her friendships and was blessed with having many close friends through the years where time and distance did not lessen their bond.
Janice was preceded in death by her husband, Louis and her brother, John Hermon Caskey. She is survived by her children Cyndi Sills and Noel Ryan, Jan Sills, and grandchildren Larissa and Philip Reynosa, Elise and Pat Pylant, Austen Zaleski and Deidra Harvey, and great-grandchildren Caitlyn, Cheyann, and Cadyn Pylant and River, Ryder, Sophia, and Skye Reynosa.
The family would like to extend their deepest gratitude to the nurses, caretakers, and staff of Silverado and Auberge for their loving care of Janice.