A Life Lived: Janice Seaman

Janice Seaman in Ugunda in 2010 with a child for whom she helped build a school.

Photo provided by the Seaman family

Janice Dumont Seaman had been committed to Linwood’s Central United Methodist Church since she was a small child, and the church never failed to keep her busy.

“That was her core,” daughter-in-law Amy Seaman said. “That’s how she lived.”

Janice Seaman never left the church she belonged to her entire life, but she could always find new experiences there. The longtime teacher at the Estell Manor School spent much of her time working with the kids at the church through teaching Sunday school and as the “snack lady” for the church’s Vacation Bible School.

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“She really loved human connections,” said her son Joe Seaman Jr., of Egg Harbor Township. “These were things that allowed her to do that.”

Janice Seaman died July 6 at 61. She was raised in Northfield and lived with her husband, Joe Seaman Sr., in Mays Landing. But her church made her reach out beyond the local community.

In February 2010, she was part of a group of members who built a school for orphans in Uganda.

“She felt it was her calling from God,” her husband said. “I have to say it was one of the happiest times of her life.”

Joe Seaman Jr. said his mother helped build a wall, and had never done anything like that before.

“She got to meet some of the kids the school would help. She sat with the babies and played with the toddlers,” he said. “She thought the whole trip was rewarding. She was really glad she went.”

Joe Seaman Jr. said her work with the church made her content, and whenever she wanted to try something else, she found it there.

After more than 50 years at Central United Methodist, she joined the choir a few years ago to explore her love of singing.

“After she retired and the children had grown, she decided to try for the choir. She finally had time for herself,” Joe Seaman Sr. said. “She asked me, and I said, ‘Yes, if that’s one of your passions, then by all means, yes.’”

But being committed to a small group of people was nothing new for her.

Janice Seaman taught math for 23 years in Estell Manor for grades five through eight.

“It was such a small school, she’d have the same kids for four years,” Joe Seaman Jr. said. “She loved teaching math. She loved her students.”

And her family as well, Amy Seaman said.

“She was really proud of her family,” Amy said. “All of the cards and condolences we got, what comes up most is her spirit and the love in which she lived her life.”

A Life Lived appears Tuesdays and Saturdays.

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