Janelle Arlene Garber


Janelle Arlene Garber, age 87, went home to heaven on Sunday, January 9, 2022. She passed away peacefully at sunset with her loving husband, Tom, and all four of her children by her side. After many years of battling Alzheimer’s disease, her mind has been renewed in the presence of her Savior.

Janelle was born to Wendal William Phillips and Maudie Joanna Hoover, in Bethany Oklahoma on September 13, 1934. She is the oldest of three siblings and grew up in a loving family that faithfully served God and others. She came to know and love the Lord at an early age and followed and served Him throughout her life.

Janelle attended Bethany Nazarene College where she studied to be a teacher. She later studied to become a librarian/media specialist. She met her husband Thomas (Tom) Raymond Garber initially at Bethany Nazarene College when she was a high school student and Tom was a college student. After graduating from college, Janelle went to Kansas City to teach school briefly before accepting a teaching position in Pueblo, Colorado with a group of other teachers coming from Bethany Nazarene College. Among those teachers, was the handsome young Tom Garber, who courted her for about a year before proposing to her on Valentine’s Day. The couple married on June 5, 1960, at the First Church of the Nazarene in Pueblo, Colorado where they shared many years together serving in that church and living in community with many dear friends.

Both Tom and Janelle taught school in Pueblo, pouring their hearts into their teaching, and impacting hundreds of lives of students and their families. After five years of marriage, Tom and Janelle gave birth to their first son, Kevin, who was followed shortly by Karen, Kim and a few years later by Kirk. Janelle completed her master’s degree from Western State University, in Gunnison, Colorado. She taught many different grades in elementary schools and served as a media specialist in Pueblo for 20 years before she and Tom moved to Carthage, Missouri in 1978 to be closer to family.


Janelle continued to teach elementary school for nearly 20 more years in Carthage. She and Tom faithfully attended Carthage First Church of the Nazarene, where she served in numerous capacities. Tom and Janelle and their family shared their lives and faith with so many dear friends and have many cherished memories from their years in Carthage. They moved to Baldwin City, Kansas in 2013 to be near their children. Janelle later moved to a memory care facility in Olathe, Kansas, where she passed away.

She was a wonderful wife, mother and teacher, who taught her own children to love God and to love others. Incredibly gifted and resourceful, she was a consummate planner, organizer, volunteer, partner and adventurer with Tom, her husband. Her life was filled with Christian hospitality and service. Over her lifetime, Janelle served thousands of meals and hosted hundreds in her home. She was a godly example to many.

Janelle was preceded in death by her parents, Wendal Phillips and Maudie Hoover as well as her sister Donna [Don] Firestone. Janelle is survived by her loving husband of 62 years, Tom; her four children, Kevin [Shawna] Garber of Baldwin City, Kansas; Karen [Cort] Garber-Miller of Olathe, KS; Kim [Doug] Garber-Shippee of Dallas, TX; and Kirk [Traci] Garber of Baldwin City, KS; her eight grandchildren, Kayla and Nathan [Kirk]; Matthew and Michael [Kevin]; Rafe, Gabrielle, Taylor and Michael [Kim]; one great granddaughter, Kinsey [Taylor]; her brother Dale [Jeri Sue] Phillips of Oklahoma City, OK and many in-laws, nieces, and nephews.

She will be laid to rest in Park Cemetery in a private family gathering. The family will look forward to welcoming family and friends at a community celebration of her life later in the spring in Carthage, Missouri.

A few years ago, the Garber children, family and friends, built the Tom & Janelle Garber Hope Child Development Center to serve vulnerable children and women living in Rwanda and the Congo. The Center continues to reach out to more than 300 children, providing a feeding program, Bible education, Christian development seminars, skills training courses, and Christian social engagement. The Center was built to honor the lives and Christian service of Tom and Janelle as teachers of many children. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that gifts be made to the Educate for Opportunity Institute for the Tom & Janelle Garber Hope Child Development Center. To donate online please give at: edforop.org/give. To donate by check please make checks payable to: “Educate for Opportunity” and mail to: Educate for Opportunity, 15050 W 138th St., P.O. Box 4321, Olathe, KS 66063. Online condolences may be expressed through www.knellmortuary.com. Arrangements are under the direction and personal care of Knell Mortuary.

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