FULL HOUSE – The main hall at Harrigan Centennial Hall is packed for the first day of the Southeast Conference Wednesday. At the conclusion of the conference, state Rep. Dan Ortiz, Ketchikan independent; Rep. Sara Hannan, Juneau Democrat; and Sen. Jesse Kiehl, Juneau Democrat, spoke about the need to protect school and ferry systems from further budget reductions.  (Sentinel Photo)

Janis Hahl, Former Sitkan, Dies in Oregon at Age 77

Janis Hahl


Janis Mae Hahl, 77, formerly of  Sitka,  passed away Aug. 4, 2019, at Riverbend Hospital in Springfield, Oregon, from complications of a head injury incurred in a car accident July 29.
The cause of the accident is unknown, the family said. Doctors suspect she fell asleep or possibly fainted at the wheel. Family stayed near her side during her final days, and her granddaughter was with her when she passed.
She was in good health, driving home from celebrating her 60th high school reunion, at the time of the accident.
Janis was born in Elk City, Oklahoma, on Nov. 17, 1941. She moved with her parents, June and Daniel, and siblings Lucille, Betty, Ruth, and D.E. Hartman, first to Blythe, California, then to Turner, Oregon. Janis excelled at school, participated in cheerleading  and was a member of Future Homemakers of America. She graduated from Cascade High School, where she met her first husband, Jerry Lewis.
Jerry and Janis were married for 22 years. Janis was a dedicated wife and mother, staying home with her children while Jerry traveled for work. Janis later worked with Jerry preparing paperwork and log scales for his contract logging company. After more than 30 years of separation, Jerry moved in with Janis after she was widowed, and the two operated again as family.
Janis was known for keeping a comfortable home, and showing compassion toward others. She was a skilled painter, seamstress, and chef with a unique knack for hospitality, gardening, and organization. She will be missed dearly, and remembered as a caring mother, grandmother, and friend.
Janis and her husband Jim Hahl lived in Alaska for more than 20 years. Together they explored the coast of the Pacific Northwest, and enjoyed fresh seafood on their 25-foot sailboat. In Sitka, Janis worked as a manager at Mountain Miss, a rugged gear retail store, where she was known for her diligence and kindness. 
Janis returned to Florence, Oregon, from Sitka in 2013 after her husband, Jim Hahl, passed away.
Upon returning to Oregon, Janis was greeted with the birth of her only great-grandchild. She rekindled connections with her friends and family in the area including her two children, granddaughter, best friend, and first husband.
Janis was a resilient woman who maintained a loving demeanor despite the challenges she faced. She overcame polio as a small child, and was a two-time breast cancer survivor. She endured much loss including two children, first a stillborn infant in 1962, and her eldest child, Valerie Vadakin, in November 2017; her husband, Jim Hahl, in August 2012; her best friend, Dorris Cox, in January 2019; and her eldest sister, Lucille Smith, in July 2019.
Janis is survived by her son Brian Lewis; granddaughter Chelsea Vadakin; great-grandson Owen Burris;  brother Daniel Hartman; and former husband Jerry Lewis.
Memorial services will be held 4-7 p.m. Oct. 19, 2019, at Driftwood Shores Resort in Florence, Oregon.  For information about where to address condolences or questions about the service, please contact Chelsea at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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