Shining Star: Janet Spangler


Most days, you can find Janet Spangler at her hair salon “Off the Top” on Washington Avenue in Wheeling.

And if she's not there, she may be just around the corner at Elmhurst Assisted Living. It’s a place they also call ‘The House of Friendship,’ but when you're there, you're more like family than friends.

And Janet’s reason for volunteering there is what makes her this week’s Shining Star.

Eleanor Peyton has been staying at Elmhurst for “7 wonderful years,” she says. She enjoys the activities, such as crafts, but her other favorite part is the people.

Janet leads a crafts class and has a passion for making pretty things, but her reason for giving back goes beyond that.

“My mother was a resident here for 3-and-a-half years, and she was not a crafty person,” Janet said. “She was a beautiful woman -- a spiritual woman -- and this was her home.”

Janet says her mother, Margaret McCarihan, grew to love craft time.

“She would say, ‘oh, you must see what I have made,” Janet said.

Even though her mother has passed, Janet is passing on that passion with her mom’s old friends.

“Her mother lived across the hall from me, Margaret. She was one great lady, but I know Jan, and she is just as great as her mother,” Eleanor said.

“Marg was the life of the party here at Elmhurst,” said Jamie Crow, executive director.

Staff says they develop strong bonds with residents and their families, like Janet, and her grandchildren, who now lend a helping hand at craft time too.

Leaders say the activity is a helpful hobby.

“It’s especially important with our residents’ dexterity and working with their hands and their fingers, and providing an end product that they can take back to their room and send their loved ones or write thank you notes,” Crow said.

Sometimes a note of ‘thanks’ -- and ‘always a thinking of you’ – goes a long way.

“She was a wonderful, beautiful woman,” Janet said. “Inside and out, and she taught me everything that know, and hopefully I can teach them.”

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