Janice Ramsay Elston (Apex, NC) passed away on March 5, 2021, at age 92 while surrounded by her loved ones, ending her determined battle with cancer. Born in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania to the late Harold and Janice (nee Edgar) Ramsay, she is survived by her devoted husband, Sidney Elston, Jr, sons Sidney (Lynn) Elston III of Newtown Square, PA and Scott (Noriko) Elston of Holly Springs, NC; cousins Thomas Wolfe of PA, John Wolfe of OH, Timothy Ramsay of DE and Robert Ramsay of FL; grandchildren Lindsay Elston, Colbey Day, Janice (Kendall) DeWitt, Alexander (Bethany) Elston, Ashley (Jordan) Atkinson, three great grandchildren, one great great grandchild as well as numerous nieces and nephews.
Janice is predeceased by her daughter, Janice Knecht, and by her brother, Harold Printz Ramsay.
Janice grew up in rural Newtown Square outside of Philadelphia, in a house on Mary Jane Lane known then as ‘The Orchard.’ She and brother Harold liked to pretend they were Lewis & Clark as they stalked barefoot along Crum Creek’s headwaters to Springton reservoir, and then watch the otters slide playfully down the muddy bank into the stream. Janice subsequently graduated Marple Newtown High School with several cherished, ultimately life long friends. She would return to Crum Creek, now and again with a carload of young kids including her own, and teach them things like how to catch suckers with their bare hands.
Residents of Newtown Square for 58 years, Janice and her husband, Sidney, were cofounding members of the local historical society. Their first project: renovation of Bartram’s Covered Bridge, within which her father proposed marriage and beneath which Crum Creek’s gentle rapids flow. Over decades she researched buildings for historic designation and designed their permanent brass nameplates. She served on Newtown’s zoning hearing board with an eye toward preservation. In 1993 she was appointed co-chair of the newly created Bartram’s Bridge Joint Preservation Board, serving that post until 2016. Janice and her husband served together on the board of their historical society. She co-authored the book, Newtown Square Then & Now.
Janice and Sidney taught their boys how to shoot before they were eight; her own deer kill exceeds these three men’s total combined. Every orphaned baby bird, rabbit, puppy and kitten discovered by her children, she skillfully nurtured to become the latest family pet. Janice also possessed a knack for righting wrong. When her boys threw fits of rage and managed to trash each other’s bicycle, she made them spend their savings to repair the damage. She rallied residents in a major voter backlash to elect responsive community leadership. A recent Board of Supervisors, appreciative of her decades of public service, inscribed in their Resolution, Jan Elston just “always got it done.”
If Janice believed strongly in something, then she fought for it. She lived her life fully although never quite completed it. Topsail Beach, NC beckoned but August was again to be spent reading novels alongside Pine Creek’s rapids at the family’s summer cottage. There would never be enough Christmas parties for her beloved family and friends. Her final plea, at age 83, for help to organize her first bear hunt would go unheeded. However harsh the winter, spring was just around the corner to bloom life fully again, she always liked to say.
Bidh sinn gad ionndrainn ... We will miss you.
Funeral services and cremation were handled by Apex Funeral Home, Apex, NC.
Janice is now in the care of Logan-Videon Funeral Home in Broomall, PA and a memorial service will be held July 10, 2021 from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM at Logan-Videon Funeral Home. Interment will be held in St. Paul’s Lutheran Cemetery in Ardmore, PA at the family’s convenience.
In lieu of customary remembrances, memorial contributions may be made to Newtown Square Historical Society, NSHistory.org
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