Janet Marilyn (Nothiger) Spuck Van Ronk

January 26, 1935July 14, 2018

Janet M. Spuck passed away July 14, 2018 after a valiant fight with cancer at the age of 83. She was born January 26,1935 the fourth of five children to Albin and Murial (Reinhart) Nothiger on the family farm in Sweet Home, Ore. As a child she was frequently nurturing a lamb that had lost its mother, or taking care of kittens that needed eye drops in their eyes. She knew she always wanted to be a nurse and believed she had been given the "gift" of being able to relate to, and comfort people.

Janet conveyed a once a nurse, always a nurse approach to life. She was always showing nursing care to family and friends, and even individuals in need that crossed her path as she was going about her day. She gave advice in a way you didn't know you were getting it yet you still felt compelled to follow it. She had a soft and gentle approach but a sharp and witty sense of humor. Her laugh will be missed.

Janet graduated from Sweet Home High School in 1953 having also spent a year in high school in Naperville, Illinois living with her aunt and uncle. In high school she participated in the swimming ballet team and played the cornet in the marching band. She graduated from Lewis & Clark College in 1957 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing and used to tell her students that she was afraid to ride the bus to downtown Portland from campus because Portland was "too big a city". Her reservation about seeing the big city didn't last long as she thought it important that she travel across the U.S. and specifically to New York City before she was married--which of course she did! She completed a Masters of Teaching and Supervision in Nursing in 1965 at Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU)--delayed by a year because of the birth of her first daughter Andrea. Committed to life-long learning she completed the Health Systems Management Certificate at Harvard University Graduate School of Business in 1978, along with multiple education conferences throughout the years.

Janet began her nursing career at Good Samaritan Hospital and the American Red Cross as a staff nurse traveling the State of Oregon with the latter. She began her teaching career as an instructor at the Emanuel Hospital School of Nursing in 1966 rising to become the Vice President of Nursing at Legacy Emanuel in 1976. During Janet's tenure at Emanuel the Life Flight, the high risk maternity service and the NICU were established. She also established policies that required nursing managers to have baccalaureate and masters degrees for management positions. She guided the hospital through 2 Jacho review visits, one with no recommendations. Leaving Emanuel in 1985 she joined the nursing faculty of the Washington State University – Vancouver Campus in 1991 where she was still teaching and advising when she passed. In addition, she was also on the clinical staff of Assured Home Health, Longview, WA regularly visiting patients at the time of her passing. Never one to be idle, over her life she had served as President, Oregon Chapter—American Organization of Nurse Executives; adjunct faculty, Pacific University, Forest Grove; Director of Nursing, Parkrose Nursing Home; Owner of LTC Nursing Service; and completed policy review, accreditation visits and reviews, staff development, community education, committee work, research or testing services with the National League of Nursing, the Oregon State Board of Nursing, Oregon Nurses Association, Sigma Theta Tau International, Western Institutes of Nursing, Interim Health Care, Mt. Hood Medical Center, and the VA Medical Center among other recruitment and nursing related activities with WSU and Emanuel. With the Long Term Care Nurses Association she helped develop and implement the Long Term Care Minimum Data Set--MDS a screening and assessment tool that is used to assess all residents of long-term care facilities that are certified to participate in Medicare or Medicaid--she was particularly concerned about assuring the quality of care for residents who were not private-payers. Janet was the recipient of many awards, recognitions, served in many leadership roles, and published her research and work in order to further the field of nursing.

When not working, which was rare --Janet loved spending time with her extended family and traveling. She enjoyed traveling the world—even visiting and returning from Asia on the President Grant, a merchant ship, with her former husband (a trip that had her giving first aid to, and teaching CPR to, the crew, updating the ship's medications and medical supplies, and visiting hospitals in Hong Kong and Singapore). She often traveled for work around the United States and Europe, and to visit her children and grandchildren. She always looked forward to spending the 4th of July with her extended family in Harrisburg and attending family reunions in Sweet Home. When she was younger she used to take her many nieces and nephews on hikes and adventures. A love and respect for the woods and outdoors undoubtedly gleaned from the time she spent with her father when he was on lookout for forest fires with the U.S. Forest Service. Her many hobbies included: cooking & baking; gardening; reading; history; and ham radio operating. Her relationship with her husband Fred heightened her interest in Native American culture and gemology. She had an appreciation for the Arts that was infectious often attending musicals or plays in Portland, NYC & London with family and friends, and art museums wherever she ended up to see her beloved Impressionists. Her insatiable appetite for learning was evidenced by the book she was currently reading on history from the early 1900's. Janet was a volunteer with Prisoner Visitation and Support making monthly visits to the federal prison in Sheridan, OR from 1989 to 2004. She also was active in the Parkrose United Church of Christ where she served on the Church Council, and also used her real estate license to assist in the acquisition of property for the church. When her children were younger she was a Campfire Girl Leader and supported their community and church activities--including serving as nurse at Camp Adams and Mt. Hood Kiwanis Camp. Darci, her second daughter, was less than a month old when she joined the staff as the nurse at the Kiwanis Camp. More recently she was attending the Longview Church of the Nazarene. She was devoted to supporting and mentoring her family, friends, colleagues, students and her neighbors in Kalama, WA—even checking in on former patients to see how they were doing.

She is survived by her husband Frederick G. Van Ronk whom she married in 2004; sisters Byrdene Brown and Mardelle Hufford; brother Daryl Nothiger (wife Carollin); daughters Andrea Spuck (husband Tim Southerst) and Darci Spuck (husband Chris Sylves); and three grandchildren, Alexandra, Elizabeth and John Southerst. Along with her many adored nieces, nephews, friends, colleagues and students. She was preceded in death by her husband C. Andrew (Andie) Spuck to whom she was married from 1960 until his death in 1995; and her eldest sister Edith Crockett.

A funeral will be held at 12 p.m., Monday, July 23, 2018, at Skyline Memorial Gardens Funeral Home, 4101 NW Skyline Blvd. Portland, OR 97229. Reception immediately following at Skyline. For updates, a full obituary, and memorial information please visit:

In lieu of flowers the family suggests making a contribution to the WSU Foundation to support the Janet Spuck Memorial Nursing Scholarship at WSU Vancouver. Contributions can be sent to:

WSU Vancouver Liz Becker 14204 NE Salmon Creek Avenue Vancouver, WA 98686

Make checks payable to the WSU Foundation or visit to make an online gift (select the WSU Vancouver Scholarship Fund and include a note in the comment section “In memory of Janet Spuck”. Questions, contact Liz at 360-546-9281.


  • C. Andrew Spuck, Husband
  • Frederick G Van Ronk, Husband
  • Andrea D Spuck, Daughter
  • Timothy J Southerst, Son-in-law
  • Darci D Spuck, Daughter
  • Christopher Sylves, Son-in-law
  • Alexandra K Southerst, Grandchild
  • Elizabeth L Southerst, Grandchild
  • John A Southerst, Grandchild
  • Edith Crockett, Sister
  • Mardelle Hufford, Sister
  • Byrdene Brown, Sister
  • Daryl Nothiger, Brother
  • Muriel E Nothiger, Mother
  • Albin B Nothiger, Father



  • Funeral Service Monday, July 23, 2018
  • Reception Monday, July 23, 2018


  • Celebration of Life

Janet Marilyn (Nothiger) Spuck Van Ronk

have a memory or condolence to add?

Kristine Brown

February 2, 2019

I just learned of Janet’s passing yesterday while reading the “In Memory Of,” section in the WSU Magazine. I am so sorry that I was unable to attend her service. Janet and I worked together at WSU Vancouver for many years. God Bless Janet as well as her family and friends. We will meet up again Janet and make up for lost time. With Love, Kristine Brown

Eric Corson

August 11, 2018

I was sad to learn about Janet's passing. As the director of Prisoner Visitation and Support, I supervised Janet's visiting at the federal prison in Sheridan. I was planning on seeing Janet today, as I stop in Portland dos two days. I would lije to be able to see any family members who are in Portland. My email is:; my phone is: 215-901-3608. Eric Corson

Jessie Hammond

July 31, 2018

I am truly saddened to hear of Janet's passing, yet thinking of her brings me only joy. She was a wonderful person and will definitely live on in all of us who were fortunate enough to have known and worked with her. I first met Janet when she interviewed me for a position at Emanuel and got to know and respect her for her kindness, caring and administrative acumen. Janet leaves a great legacy, not only as a nurse, administrator and friend, but also through her wonderful, well accomplished daughters and grandchildren. She will be missed but truly never forgotten. My thoughts and prayers are with you during this very difficult time.

Jack Crockett

July 24, 2018

Oh My! After reading my Aunt Janet's obituary, I didn't know Aunt Janet after all. Fortunately I was one of the Nephues that she guided through the Eight Lakes Basin. It sadens me that I didn't get to go to the memorial service. I certainley want to convey my condolences to the family. Aunt Janet certainley was a busy person. As she helped so many it was not so much for her own satisfaction, but to help so many. So kind careing and compasionet! I feel a loss, but hope to see her again! Jack

JANICE and Philip Livesley

July 23, 2018

The Spuck Family were wonderful neighbors of ours for many years.
Janet was a special lady who was devoted to her family and her lifetime career
of helping people.
She will be very much missed.

Philip and Janice Livesley

Alice Barnes , McCall

July 21, 2018

Janet and I have been best friends since grade school . I will miss her so very much .
My thanks to Darci and Andrea for remembering her with the scholarship.
Education was one of Janet's highest priorities.

Bruce Kurts

July 19, 2018

I will always remember Janet with fondness. She was one of the best nurses I have ever worked with and a great friend I will miss very much.