Long Term LCOC Western Region Member Jan McNiel has Passed Away

Jan McNiel

May 26, 1950 – September 22, 2023

It is with heartfelt grief that we report that our good friend and long-term LCOC member Jan McNiel passed away from a sudden heart attack on Friday Sept. 22. Her husband of 31 years, Marv Wendt, and a friend were at Marv and Jan’s Ridgecrest home when she suddenly fell. Paramedics were called to the scene, but sadly Jan could not be revived.

Both Jan and Marv have been active members of LCOC and fixtures at club events over the years. Both have served on LCOC’s Western Region Board of Managers and Jan concluded several terms as Western Region Treasurer in 2020.

Below are a few photos of them enjoying LCOC events over the years. Most recently, they attended the LCOC MIke Cunningham Wine Country Picnic in Sonoma with their 1989 Mark VII LSC last month. Jan was politically aware and always up for an earnest discussion on national and world events, but also never far from a good time. She loved LCOC and the people in it and vice-versa. We will miss her profoundly. RIP dear friend.

If you would like to contact Marv with your thoughts and condolences, click here. See his loving tribute to Jan below the photos.

A sweet tribute to Jan from Marv:

The love of my life and my soulmate passed away suddenly on September 22nd.

Jan was a native Californian, born in San Diego but was raised all over the world including England, Libya, and Okinawa.  She was an accomplished baton twirler in high school and was performing her routine at a high school on a military base in Libya when President Kennedy was assassinated.   Jan was a ’67 graduate of Mary Washington College (now The University of Mary Washington) with a degree in American Studies.  Jan parlayed her education into health care administration, and at the young age of 26 was running a rather large department for the University of California Irvine – Medical Center.  Jan continued on at the Medical Center for another 30 years in various executive management roles.  She was an avid American history buff, and our domestic travels took us all over the country visiting historical sites.  She would have made a hell of a college history professor.

Jan and I met at the “Med Center” in 1975, both coming off of our “starter marriages”.  I asked her out to a Heavy Metal rock concert at the notorious Swing Auditorium in San Bernardino and the rest is history.  I will always remember being captivated by her big blue eyes, long eyelashes, blond hair, her little high heels and a tidy but “pneumatic” body.

We split up for a few years in the “Life in The Fast Lane” ‘80’s, but to paraphrase Willie Nelson, “She was always on my mind”.  Married in ‘Vegas in ’92 we started building our little empire and continuously adding to our vintage car fleet.

Suckered into the LCOC – Western Region in 1994 we enjoyed many LIncoln events and board of directors’ membership.  Jan was treasurer for a number of years, and for excellent management and attention to detail was awarded the Director’s Trophy in 2020.  She loved the camaraderie and the socialization of the Western Region, especially the events that involved a hospitality suite!

A latent “Ford fan”, over the years Jan drove a Maverick, a Galaxie 500, a Cougar, a Ranger pickup and a Mercury Mountaineer, which she claimed was her favorite of all her Fords.

We departed the hustle and bustle of Orange County in 2002 upon Jan’s retirement, making our home on twelve acres in the Upper Mojave Desert. 

Jan loved our little desert town and the sweeping vistas of the Sierra Nevada from our veranda, the sunrises and the sunsets, and the smell of the desert after a rain.  She always remarked that she was the happiest here of all the places she had ever been.

Jan is here in spirit with me, and when we see each other again it will be just like a short time has passed, like her going grocery shopping or me going to the auto parts store.

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