In memoriam: Missionary emeritus Jean Carol Bell Janes, 87

Jean Carol Bell Janes, 1933-2021

Jean Carol Bell Janes, an International Mission Board missionary emeritus who shared the gospel among American Affinity Peoples in Chile, died March 28, 2021. She was 87. 

Janes was born June 4, 1933, in Louisville, Kentucky, to the late Harry Warner and Mary Nell Thomas Bell. She graduated from Owensboro (Kentucky) Senior High School and received the Bachelor of Arts from Georgetown (Kentucky) College and the Master of Arts from the University of Kentucky, Lexington.  

She wrote when seeking missionary appointment that she felt drawn to church as a young child and professed faith in Christ as a preteen. As a teen she surrendered to God’s call to full-time Christian service, thinking it might be foreign missions. 

While in college, she served as a summer missionary in Alabama and Maryland, experiences that reinforced her calling. The summer before her junior year, she attended student week at Ridgecrest Baptist conference center, where she met Grundy Janes, a ministerial student at Georgetown. Their relationship grew at school and while she taught in Tipp City, Ohio. They were married at Highland Baptist Church, Louisville, Kentucky, in 1956.   

Jean taught in Lexington and in Jefferson County, Kentucky, while she and Grundy completed their educational preparation for mission service. The Foreign Mission Board (now International Mission Board) appointed them missionaries to Chile in 1966. 

The Janeses served as educators at Colegio Bautista in Temuco, Chile, for 30 years. There Jean taught English and was head of the English department. According to Grundy, Jean often said she was happier in a classroom than anywhere else. That God allowed to teach in Chile, meant she was able to live her ideal life, he said. 

In Temuco, Jean also worked at First Baptist Church, serving as a deacon, teaching Sunday School and working especially with the Young Women’s Auxiliary (now Acteens and Women on Mission). In that role, he said, she became a mentor to many young women in Chile.   

The Janeses served there about 30 years before retiring and returning to the United States, living in Louisville, Kentucky, and more recently in Saint Augustine, Florida.  

At Highland Baptist Church, where the Janeses were members, the Jean Janes Global Women Group is named for Jean. 

Survivors include her husband of 64 years, Grundy, of Saint Augustine; two sons, Robert Grundy Janes (Benny) of Saint Augustine and Thomas Warner Janes (Amanda) of Leesburg, Va.; four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. 

A memorial service was held April 9 at Highland Baptist Church with burial at Cave Hill Cemetery, Louisville.