RAPID CITY | Dr. William "Bill" Janss, 84, died Monday, March 31, 2014, at Rapid City Regional Hospital.
He was an Iowa farm boy, born in Belle Plaine, Iowa, to John and Anna Janss. The youngest of nine children, he grew up tending the family farm while his father worked as a blacksmith for the railroad and his mother ran a dairy and butcher shop.
He attended the University of Iowa, where he received his bachelors and Medical degree in 1955. He interned at Toledo Ohio County Hospital and returned to Iowa City to serve his residency in internal medicine at the VA Hospital.
He met and married a fellow resident, the love of his life, Gerti Jimeno in 1958.
Upon finishing residency he served as Medical Officer at Offut Air Force Base, Nebraska, for two years. Dr. Bill moved his family to Rapid City in 1961 and opened and ran a private medical practice for 35 years. In 1984, he was appointed Medical Director of the Inpatient Alcohol and Drug Treatment Center at St. Martins for seven years.
Dr. Bill was devoted to his patients and medical practice. He would often take some or all of his six children on hospital rounds and house calls. He was one of the last doctors to give house calls on his sick and elderly patients. He retired in 1996.
He loved his large and active family. He tended his garden where he recreated a version of his childhood farm with a creek, large vegetable garden and menagerie of animals — from ponies, dogs and cats to chickens, turtles and peacocks. Dr. Bill was an avid reader and filled his home with books and art, passing that passion to his children. He loved to paint and draw, sculpted wood and alabaster. Dr. Bill played piano and guitar, and raised his family listening to opera and classical music.
His last 25 years were devoted to his wife, the recovery of alcoholics and addicts and his grandchildren. Known as "Yayo," he often traveled to care for his grandchildren when called upon. They were the greatest pride of his life. His love of music, literature and learning are his legacy to them.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his sister, Kathryn Lebeda; and brothers, Louis, Paul, Tom, Don, Jim and Dr. John "Bob" Janss.
He is survived by his wife, Dr. Gerti Janss of Rapid City; his children, Dr. Anna Janss of Atlanta, GA, Dr. Gerta Janss of Chicago, IL, Maria Nuria Janss of Waterford, CT, John Janss of Tempe, AZ, Helen Gutierres of Rapid City, and William Janss of Phoenix, AZ; his sister, Patsy Williams of Columbus, OH; and 20 grandchildren.
Christian Burial Mass will be offered at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 12, at Blessed Sacrament Church, with Fr. Brian Lane presiding.
A memorial to celebrate his life will follow at 2 p.m. at Osheim & Schmidt Funeral Home.
Burial will be at Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis, with military honors rendered by the Rushmore VFW Post 1273 and the South Dakota Army National Guard.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church.
Osheim & Schmidt Funeral Home is entrusted with arrangements. His online guestbook is available to sign at www.osheimschmidt.com.