Janice C. Blazi, 86, passed peacefully at Memorial Hospital on Monday, April 5, 2021 after a sudden illness. She was surrounded by family. She went by Jan, Mom and Grammie, and lived a good life in South Bend, Indiana. She was known for her kind and giving heart and her willingness to help others less fortunate.
She enjoyed reading, was an avid movie fan, and delighted in watching the birds while on her patio with a crossword puzzle and coffee. Her greatest joy in life was being a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.
A close second was her love for the University of Notre Dame where she spent 31 years in the Athletics department from 1972-2003. She served as the Executive Assistant to several head football coaches including Gerry Faust, Lou Holtz, Bob Davie, and Tyrone Willingham. She began her career there working for several assistant coaches under Ara Parseghian and Dan Devine. She often shared behind-the-scenes stories with family and friends and always declined the suggestion to write a book. She remained a lifelong Irish fan and stayed in close contact with the Notre Dame family and fans throughout the world.
In 2018, the Knute Rockne Memorial Society recognized her with the Spirit of Sports Award for Distinguished Service. Her 30-year tenure in the athletic department included a stint in the sports information office, before returning to the football office as the head coach’s Executive Assistant.
She also served on Notre Dame’s Staff Advisory Council (1995-2000).
In his book The Golden Dream written with Steve Love, Head Coach Gerry Faust wrote: “She was loyal, competent and helped guide me and keep me out of trouble... It may not seem as if a secretary would contribute to Notre Dame’s mystique, but to me a secretary such as Jan is what the Notre Dame mystique is all about – good people doing wonders in their work.”
She is survived by her ex-husband, Bob, and their four children: Tony (Marlene) of Buda, TX; Terri (Don Hall) of Elkhart; Chris (Michelle) of Niles; and Geoff of South Bend. Her brother, Geoff Trace also survives in Darby, MT. She adored her nine grandchildren and six great-grandchildren: Jake and Ally Blazi and Tim Nicolls III (Jessica) and Troy Nicolls; Jessica Couch (Chad Applegate); Kristin Blazi (Daniel Damp); Morgan and Joselyn Dlouhy; nephews Laddie Ervin; and Joel Trace; and great grandchildren: Hailie, Landin, Madiline Couch, Olivia Schmeltz, Peyton and Dominic Damp.
She was preceded in death by her parents Joseph and Lucille Trace, along with sisters Nancy and Sharon.
Visitation will be on Monday, April 12, 2021 from 4:00 – 7:00 pm in the Palmer Funeral Home - Hickey Chapel, 17131 Cleveland Road, South Bend. A Mass of Christian Burial celebrating her life will be held at 10:00 am, Tuesday, April 13, 2021 at Christ the King Catholic Church, 52473 SR 933, South Bend. The celebrant is Rev. Paul Doyle, CSC, who knew our mother well. Due to current public health and safety standards, social distancing will be enforced, and masks required at both places.
She will be laid to rest immediately following Mass in a private service with the family.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the Northern Indiana Food Bank, 702 Chapin Street, South Bend, IN 46601.
The family encourages you to leave an online condolence or to share a memory by visiting https://www.palmerfuneralhomes.com.
Even though our hearts may be full of sorrow now; she would want us to find peace with her passing and to honor her by replacing the sorrow with joy in the memories of ALL the good times and laughs shared over the years. Paraphrasing Bob Hope: Thanks for the memories, Mom
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