Janet Mildred Ast, passed away on Tuesday, Jan. 22

Janet Mildred Ast of St. Joseph died at Hanson Hospice Center on Tuesday, Jan. 22. She was 81 years old.

 Janet was a retired director of entertainment for the U.S. Army in Europe, and lived in Germany and Italy for most of her working life. Her theater productions won numerous awards, and her worldwide friends acclaim her mentorship, her skill in performing arts, and her importance to the morale of soldiers and their families. 

 She enjoyed exploring Europe and the Middle East, and going to opera and theater productions in numerous venues in the United States and Europe. She was also an indefatigable traveler, and loved good literature and the company of her cats.

Janet was born June 6, 1937, in Chicago, and grew up on a fruit farm in Lincoln Township. She graduated from St. Joseph High School.

 She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music from the University of Michigan, and studied voice at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria. She had a superb voice and a magnificent stage presence. 

 She is survived by: a sister, Judith Brunvand of Salt Lake City, Utah; a brother, William F. Ast III of St. Joseph; and eight nieces and one nephew. She was preceded in death by her parents, William F. Ast Jr. and Mildred Pearl Ast, and a sister, Viola Nielsen.

 In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in Janet’s name to Planned Parenthood, Berrien County Cancer Services Inc., or a charity of the donor’s choice. 

Janet’s funeral will be held at 2:00 P.M., Tuesday, January 29, 2019 at Starks Family Funeral Home, 2650 Niles Rd., St. Joseph with pastor Tom Bird officiating. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service. Burial will follow the service at Lincoln Township Cemetery on St. Joseph Avenue. Those wishing to share a memory of Janet online may do so at www.starks-menchinger.com

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