Cover photo for Janet Ruth Tema's Obituary
Janet Ruth Tema Profile Photo
1939 Janet Tema 2023

Janet Ruth Tema

August 23, 1939 — March 12, 2023


Janet Ruth Tema was born in Winfield, Iowa the night of August 23, 1939.  She was born to Virgil and Lois (Harned) Ross, a farming family.  Not long after graduating from high school, she and a couple of girlfriends moved to Cedar Rapids, Iowa where she soldered transistor radio parts together for Collins Radio (now Rockwell).  It was in Cedar Rapids where she met her librarian husband, William “Bill” John Tema.  They would eventually wed on October 20, 1962 at the Little Brown Church in the Vale, located in Nashua, Iowa.  This was the halfway point between Bill’s parents in Minneapolis and Janet’s parents in Mount Pleasant, Iowa.


Not more than a year after being wed, Janet and Bill moved to Pasadena, California, where Bill had dreamt of living since attending a Rose Bowl game to cheer on his Minnesota Golden Gophers.  This would be their home where they raised a family for over 56 years.  Here, they became active members in the community, attending Lake Avenue Church where they were most plugged in.  Janet sang in the choir and served as the music librarian under Dr. Bruce Leafblad for seven years.


The Tema family loved to travel, taking many long driving trips with their son.  Yet Janet’s hobby was to take pictures and she leaves behind cases of pictures of trips through the years.  Rare were the places she would go without a camera at her side.  One of her favorite pastimes was to take her son, Bryan’s family on vacations every other year to places such as St. Thomas, Puerto Vallarta, and numerous trips to Hawaii.  This was an investment in the grandchildren since they were miles away in East Texas.  It was on these trips that she loved to give long back scratches and find ways to make the kids laugh and have a good time.  Janet also was the one in the family who prioritized making sure birthday cards arrived on time and that holiday treats were made and distributed to friends and neighbors.  She was a fabulous baker!


Janet and Bill transitioned to The Fountains at Bronson in Kalamazoo, Michigan due to health concerns that Bill was facing, requiring them to be closer to family.  Her efforts to play nurse took a growing toll on her frail body, leading to her heavenly promotion on the evening of March 12, 2023 at Gull Arbor Senior Living.  She will be greatly missed by her family.


Janet is preceded in death by her parents, Virgil and Lois (Harned) Ross; sister, Marilyn Coch; brothers, Milford and Stanley Ross; and daughter, Debbie.


Janet is survived by her husband, William “Bill” John Tema of Richland, Michigan; her son, Bryan (Tammy) Tema of Augusta, Michigan; grandchildren, Josh (Mikayla) Tema of Kalamazoo, Michigan and Cassandra (Aaron) Schmid of Indianapolis, Indiana; and brother, Richard Ross of Mount Pleasant, Iowa. 


Memorial contributions can be made to gracespring Bible Church Missions, 8643 Gull Road, Richland, MI 49083 (  Personal messages for Janet’s family may be shared at


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