Janet's Story

WINTERPORT - Janet (Jan) Kaufman Anderson (Poppinga), age 60 passed away peacefully surrounded by family on Nov. 24, 2015 of complications related to Multiple System Atrophy (MSA), a rare neurodegenerative disorder.

The eldest daughter of Julius (Jay, who pre-deceased her in 2001) and Elizabeth (Betty) Poppinga, Jan grew up in Montclair, New Jersey. She attended Penn State University and graduated from Montclair State University with a B.A. in Fine Arts and English. She earned her Masters in Journalism from Temple University while working as an assistant to the investigative reporter for the Philadelphia Daily News. She then served as the public relations director for the Pennsylvania Opera Theater in Philadelphia and taught in the communications department of Rowan State University before launching WordWorks, a Cherry Hill, NJ-based PR and marketing firm in 1994.

Jan moved to Maine in 1999 and, after working as a marketing consultant for the Maine Adoption Placement Service, began the J Group partnership in 2001 with Jill Fiore. She also co-founded the Haworth Academic Center in Bangor, ME. Before her illness made it necessary for her to retire from her professional endeavors, in addition to her work with J Group, she developed and taught communications seminars for the University of Maine's Division of Lifelong Learning. She also served on the Board of Directors for the Bangor Humane Society, and OHI and was a member of the Bangor Rotary Club. Jan also volunteered in a nearby correctional institution for women where she helped the female inmates through writing and personal expression.

Jan is survived by her devoted husband Paul Anderson; her children Rebekah Kaufman Blanchette and husband Jason Blanchette of Winterport; Ryan Kaufman, partner Rachel Linhares and granddaughter Tatum of Honolulu, HI; and Ben Kaufman also of Honolulu, HI; her step-children Michael Anderson and partner Katherine Follayttar of Portland; Brian Anderson and wife Cathy Anderson of Arlington, MA; and Isaac Anderson of Hampden. She is also survived by her sister Julie Steiger and husband Richard of Cherry Hill, NJ; her mother Elizabeth Poppinga Nelson and step-father Robert W. Nelson of Willow Street, PA; and dear friends Deborah Levine of Hampden, Wayne Shorey of Bangor, and Don Slater of Pittsburgh, PA.

Jan walked and spoke gently, giving all of her attention, care and empathy to the people around her. She was a gifted writer and never wasted a word. She enjoyed walks in the forest, time in the garden, and appreciated all forms of art and music. Above all, Jan believed that everyone has special and unique qualities and that in the midst of personal challenges everyone can find joy in realizing our inner beauty and strengths.

A celebration of Jan's life will take place in Winterport, ME in the spring at the home she shared with her husband, Paul. The family asks that those close to Jan take a moment to remember her on Thanksgiving Day by telling those around them how much they are loved, as Jan always made all those around her feel loved and cherished.

The family wishes to extend sincere gratitude to the wonderful team of women from Loving Touch in-Home Care for helping to provide her care and comfort through the latter stages of her life. In lieu of flowers the family suggests donations in Jan's memory to The MSA Coalition www.multiplesystematrophy.org.

Condolences to the family may be expressed at www.BrookingsSmith.com, where family and friends are invited to post pictures, thoughts, stories, memories.
Published in Bangor Daily News
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Brookings-Smith Funeral Home

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