Jan (Crowley) Willard Lanning


Jan Lanning, wife of the late Bruce E. Lanning, left for her Eternal Home on June 23, 2020. She was born in Ellsworth on Aug. 21, 1940, the daughter of Erma Grace (Welch) and Charles Albert Crowley.

She graduated from Ellsworth High in 1958 and attended Washington State Teachers College and New Brunswick Bible Institute (Canada). Jan loved all forms of music, from bluegrass to Puccini. She studied piano with Charlotte Dykeman and voice with Madam June Hsu and shared her musical talents as an organist in several churches over the years. She was a member of the Arcadia Choral Society and several other college choirs and groups.

Jan always said she had many jobs, from the ridiculous to the sublime. She never felt any job was beneath her. Summer jobs during school years included everything from working a meat counter to employment in a hospital records room. She later worked for New England Telephone and Bangor Hydro for a number of years and as the pastor’s secretary and youth director at the United Baptist Church in Ellsworth. In 1963, she joined Northern Missionary Fellowship in Northern Canada, working among the Cree. She was also employed by the Winter Harbor school system and public library.

In 1968, while home on furlough from her job, she met and married Elmer B. Willard Jr. At the time of his death in 1993, they had been married 25 years. That marriage produced a son, Elmer Charles Willard, who died shortly after his birth in 1970. In 2002, she married Bruce Lanning of Winter Harbor. Jan shared Bruce’s love for the ocean and had wonderful memories of days on the water and living aboard their boat in Florida. They were married 10 years at the time of his death in 2012.

She was predeceased by her beloved grandparents, Bessie (Crowley) and Clarence Hatt, who raised her most of her life. She was also predeceased by her parents, Charles and Erma Crowley; husbands, Elmer Willard and Bruce Lanning; and son, Elmer Charles Willard.

She is survived by her much loved stepdaughter, Lauren Lanning Armstrong, her husband, Jon, and sons Greg and Phillip of Virginia. She is also survived by her niece, Kathleen Smart Bard, and her family, of Orono, and several childhood friends who were like sisters to her, Jane Gillette, June Allen, Bea Romer and Scarlett Kinney. Her sister, June Smart, and stepson, Wayne Lanning, and family also survive her. Jan was most grateful for the kindness and support of her caregivers, Cindy and Juan Villaneuva and Dixie Dyer.

At her request, there will be no funeral, just a private committal at her family plot in Longfellow Cemetery, Machias.

Arrangements have been entrusted to the care of Bragdon-Kelley Funeral Home, Ellsworth, where online condolences may be shared at www.bragdonkelley.com.