Janis Zupke-Dean passed away on July 27, 2020 after a ten-month battle with a glioblastoma brain tumor.

She was soulmate and best friend to husband Bruce; she was his biggest fan and supporter.

She was a generous and thoughtful mother who adored every minute spent with her girls. She cared deeply for every member of her family, but after taking on the role of grandmother she found it might’ve been her favorite role yet.

She was an incredibly talented cook and master seamstress; her countless handmade creations are scattered throughout northeast Ohio and beyond.

She was a spirited and fun-loving woman who could make any situation light-hearted and comical. She was the ultimate hostess and planned unforgettable parties for small and large celebrations. She truly sprinkled her personal touch on every gift and gathering.

She was a proud graduate of Firestone High School and the University of Akron. She devoted 35 years to Akron Public Schools where she touched the lives of thousands of students. She taught useful and lifelong skills while always offering extra life lessons and wisdom. The tenacity with which she fought her diagnosis was another lesson she taught of grit and grace.

We were so lucky to have called her ours:

Husband Bruce Dean; daughters Amanda (Michael) Rutter and Audrey (Thomas) Flick; grandson Palmer; parents Robert and Marita Zupke; siblings Diane Zupke, Robert (Lori) Zupke, Timothy (Julie) Zupke, and Cheryl (Bill) Burley; many other cherished family members and friends.

A celebration of Janis’s life will take place at the Tudor House in New Franklin on Thursday July 30 from 5-8 pm. A mass will take place at St. Francis de Sales Parish, 4019 Manchester Rd., on Friday, July 31, 2020, at 10 am. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to a scholarship fund set up for student(s) in need at Firestone High School by sending a check to Akron Public Schools Finance Dept at 10 N. Main St, Akron, OH 44308 (memo: Janis Zupke-Dean memorial fund).

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  1. My dear and beautiful friend Janis. I will always treasure the blanket you made for me and hold our countless hours taking attendance in study hall as a fond memory. All my love.

  2. Dear Diane, Rob & Lori, I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your beloved sister. Please accept my deepest sympathy for your loss. May the love of your family & friends help you through this difficult time. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to ease your pain.
    much love to you all.

  3. I am so sorry for your loss.! You have our deepest sympathy.
    God Bless you & your family.
    We will pray for her and keep you all in our prayers. Love you, Darci Kenzie & Cody & Kevie Grogan

    Don Lombardi sends his love &
    Saying a rosary for her now.
    He will keep your family in his prayers. God Bless,

  4. I am so sorry to hear about your loss.Janis and I shared laughter and a love of teaching. Her smile,talents,and caring ways for young people were a model for all teachers to follow . I cannot remember any moment during our years as teachers that were not positive and her sense of humor was infectious. I am lucky to have known her,and I bet she was an incredible grandmother. May her memory be eternal. With and God’s blessings on the family, Karen and Larry Poulos

  5. To the entire Dean and Zupke families. We were so very saddened to learn of Janis’s passing. She was a warm, loving and caring part of our Garfield family. It was a pleasure knowing and working with her. She will be missed but we are sure she is in heaven making many new friends. Thoughts and prayers from us for the entire family.

  6. Dear Diane, Bob and other family members…
    We are so very sorry for your loss. Janis was a sweet woman who cared deeply for her family. I will always remember her in Diane’s aerobic classes when she would bring “Lovey” 😊 The APS family has lost another vital member. Our sympathies and prayers are with you at this very sad time.

  7. Dear Diane and Cheryl,
    I have such fond memories of Janis from our aerobics classes at Garfield. You sisters were the best!! I’m so sorry about your loss..I’m keeping you in my thoughts and prayers!

  8. Dear Bruce and Family;
    Our condolences and prayers are with you and your family, keeping you in our thoughts and prayers.
    Ken & Peg Lott

  9. Diane, Rob, and the entire Dean and Zupke Family:

    I was sadden to learn of Janis diagnosis and passing.

    It was our New York trip, sitting around the pool and the laughter we shared that are most memorable – thank you!

    I will forever miss her authenticity and sincerity which left an impression on me that will last forever.


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