Age 69, of Chelsea, Michigan, passed away on Friday, December 10, 2021 at the University of Michigan hospital after a short battle with Cholangiocarcinoma (bile duct cancer.) She has embarked on a new adventure; one that is free of any additional pain and suffering. She was born on December 1, 1952, in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, the daughter of Richard Keith and Barbara Arlene (Mast) Nelson.

Jan graduated from East Grand Rapids High School in 1970. She earned her Bachelor's Degree in psychology from Michigan State University and was working on a Master's Degree from Central Michigan University. Jan worked as a Probation Officer for several years before becoming a supervisor of the Washtenaw County Probation Department. She spent a few years working in Lincoln Park towards the end of her career but the majority of her time was spent in Ann Arbor. After retirement, she picked up a job as a teaching assistant for a special needs child. She always believed in doing good for others.

Jan loved to travel and shared that love with her daughter. The two of them took multiple trips, both domestically and internationally, together over the years. She believed there was so much more to life than the confines of your hometown and that you should get out there and experience the beauty of the world. If she wasn't on a trip, she was likely in the process of planning one. Outside of travel, Jan loved adventure, boat rides, volunteering at the Ark, being in the Ann Arbor Ski Club, animals (especially her cats,) crossword puzzles, music and theater, being a member of the Las Tortugas Pirates, reading, snorkeling, kayaking, playing her clarinet in the Washtenaw County Community Band and the Ann Arbor Town Band, enjoying time up north on Lake Margrethe, and spending time with her family and friends. When she was younger, she was on the Ski Patrol, even while she was pregnant. For a handful of years, Jan assisted with the Miss Washtenaw County Pageant. Jan loved to be busy and live life to the fullest.
Jan was a phenomenal Mother. She raised her daughter primarily on her own and was always supporting and encouraging her to go after her dreams. She was her daughter's biggest cheerleader. It was very evident how much she loved her one and only child. Jan also loved being a Grandma and absolutely adored her granddaughter, Eleanor (3). Her daughter Erin remembers her Mom as a kind, strong, independent, silly, adventurous, free spirited, fun, and beautiful human being. She loved that her Mom always stood up for what she believed in. She wasn't afraid to face the tough stuff in life and she never sweated the small stuff. She and her Mom were best friends. Erin also admired the bravery her Mom showed throughout her battle with cancer. From the get-go, her Mom was ready to fight and she just did what she had to do. She now sees her Mom as her hero.
Jan had many hopes and dreams for the future. She had tickets to various shows, multiple trips planned, home renovation projects she was excited to complete, and was looking forward to attending her 50th high school reunion that was postponed two years due to COVID. She was also excited to watch her granddaughter grow up.
Jan is survived by her daughter, Erin (Nelson) Pratt of Ann Arbor; her son-in-law, Daniel Pratt; her granddaughter, Eleanor “JoJo” Pratt, her brother, Jon Nelson of Satellite Beach, Florida; and several extended family members. She was preceded in death by her parents.

A Celebration of Life will be held next summer as one of Jan's wishes after her diagnosis was for "just one more summer." Memorial contributions may be made to the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation ( or to Eleanor’s Education Fund ( Code: M6P-83Q) Arrangements were entrusted to Cole Funeral Chapel in Chelsea.

You may share a memory or leave a message for Jan's family using the form below. Please allow up to 24 hours for us to review and post your message. 


#7 Gwynne MacIntyre 2022-01-07 15:35
Jan was a friend from high school that I was fortunate to reconnect with over the last few years. To my delight, she hadn’t changed—still the fun-loving, adventurous, open-hearted person I knew from the past. In high school we sailed, swam and tore around Reeds Lake in my speedboat. Later years I followed her travel adventures on Facebook. Her light will be missed. My sincere condolences to her daughter, Erin and her family.
#6 Dani Hoover 2021-12-30 06:07
Dear family of Jan, I am sorry for your loss. Jan sounds like she was an incredible person. It's easy to see where Erin gets it from. Thinking of you all ♥️
#5 Alisa Meade 2021-12-29 22:24
I had done Jan’s hair for years a while back and always enjoyed her company. She always loved talking about her daughter and all the fun trips she was planning. Jan was such a fun and upbeat soul. She will be greatly missed. I’m so happy to have had the chance to meet and know her. What a wonderful lady.
#4 Leland J Dubuc 2021-12-29 11:17
The most adventurous person I ever knew. I live on a lake. Want to go for a boatride? "Yes! Lets go!" There is a channel to another lake over there. "Lets go through it!" There is a memorial on top of that hill to... "Can we climb the hill and check it out?...Is there any more channels to any other lakes we can go to?" There were simply not enough adventures and new places to explore for Jan. Boundless curiosity. She always said she wanted to go everyplace in the world and I'll bet she was scheming and planning on somehow getting on one of the space shuttles as soon as she could arrange it. I don't think she has any intention of resting in peace. She is going somewhere and checking something out right now, dragging some new friends along with her who are trying to keep up. Love you Jan.
#3 Debbie Beckler 2021-12-23 20:11
Jan was like a sister to me. We went to high school together and in the last 15-20 years, took several trips together. She taught me to "go with the flow" and not be so structured. I'll miss you more than you know. LOVE YOU!
#2 Lance Burghardt 2021-12-22 00:02
I'll miss Jan's ready smile and outgoing personality. We both loved skiing, but I had a hard time keeping up! I learned she lived in the town I grew up in, Chelsea. Deepest sympathy to her whole family. She lives on in all of us.
#1 dave lathrop 2021-12-21 21:05
jan was an old friend who i had unfortunately lost touch with in last decades… we were high school friends and played in a rock band together… i remember her easy laugh and “ready for fun” attitude… i offer grace and peace to her daughter (we never met)..
all will be well….

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