Jan Yarger

Jan-Yanger- Photo
Jan Yarger

Jan is a retired registered nurse who worked in oncology, home healthcare, and hospice. She was also a Parish Nurse. She and Lee had two sons, Jon and Chris. Jon is a Lutheran Pastor and the father of two. One granddaughter works with the homeless, and the other is a student at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. Jan and Lee’s son, Chris, was killed in a snowmobile accident four and a half years ago.

As a ten-year-old in Faribault, Minnesota, Jan McDowell noticed a boy on the school playground who
“could really hit a ball and run very fast.” She was impressed, and they became best friends. Many years later, they are still best friends. Jan married that athletic boy, Lee Yarger, and they have been married for 57 years.

Asked what she considers her vocations, she replies that she sees her vocations as being a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a friend, a neighbor, and a retired nurse. In living her vocations, Jan says that she tries to live her life with integrity and that she tries to live what she believes to be true. “I hope I exhibit tolerance and kindness, and love of people,” she says. “I often ask myself, ‘What would Jesus do?’” Especially with Parish Nursing, her faith has helped her see and help people with their physical and mental health and their spiritual health. “Being able to talk about their faith and pray with patients was a privilege and a joy.”When asked about the joys of her vocations, she responds that
they are “the love received and given.” But there are challenges, too. “When you love and lose someone, the grief never ends. It is especially hard to lose a child. You never get over it: you just learn to live with it.”

Although she didn’t mention it when listing her vocations, one special vocation of Jan’s has been a pastor’s wife. She wasn’t incredibly anxious to have this as a vocation. When Lee asked her to
marry him, she said she wanted to do so, but she wasn’t sure about becoming a pastor’s wife. “I didn’t want to live my life and raise my children in a fishbowl,” she says. A pastor’s wife Lee knew, gave Jan some good advice when she considered Lee’s proposal: the role of a pastor’s wife is whatever it would be if your husband were the garbage collector! She took that to heart and found
that being a pastor’s wife was generally a joy and a privilege. She sang in the choir, played handbells, belonged to women’s groups and Bible study groups, and volunteered as a Parish Nurse. She says her greatest accomplishment was starting a Free Clinic in their church, staffed by volunteer doctors, nurse practitioners, and nurses.

Jan and Lee joined Peace four years ago. Because Lee is often preaching as an interim pastor, Jan
is frequently with him on Sunday mornings at the church he is serving. All the same, she has
participated in Bible study at Peace, has helped with phone calls to members who might need extra
help during Covid, has joined book study groups, and participated in Faithfully Fit classes. In
joining Peace, it was the first time that she and Lee were “regular people,” She says it was good
for them to see the church from that perspective. “The church, at its best, is the most shining
example of humanity caring for one another,” Jan attests. Thank
you for a lifetime of caring for others, Jan!