Janis Lee Beck


Janis Lee Beck, a phenomenal woman, mother, teacher and friend passed away at home on July 27, 2021, at the age of 75 surrounded by an adoring family.

Janis was born April 5, 1946, in Cambridge, N.Y to Bridget and Christopher Feenan. The daughter of Irish immigrants, Janis was the youngest of five children, whose parents worked tirelessly to provide a life with opportunity. While her parents worked, Janis would walk miles to the beach, eat herself sick on cookies, and do almost anything for a berry. She was inspired by her sister and spoiled by her brothers. She was the first of her family to go to college instead of work after high school graduation; made possible by their collective effort. This sacrifice, and a summer working in the mill motived Janis to keep her nose to the grindstone at SUNY Potsdam where she graduated Magna Cum Laude.

Without a driver’s license, Janis walked to work her first few years at Ballston Spa High School and relied on fellow teachers and the bus to get to SUNY Albany after work. She completed her master’s in education in 1970. Armed with a license to teach, her pride was in her students, colleagues, and school. She shared her passion for learning and the written word with everyone, never wavering in her commitment to provide a quality education. She felt privileged to work with the exceptional teachers in Ballston Spa and over thirty years, developed lifelong friendships; friends that would support each other through difficult times with that Scotties loyalty and determination that defines the Village of Ballston Spa.

She met the love of her life, Edward, at a dance. She had an infectious laugh, jet black hair and blue eyes that crackled with electricity. Ed didn’t stand a chance and they married June 28, 1969. Together they had two children: Christy and Harold. When it came to motherhood, Janis liked to be outside with her children where the wild things were; they were raised in her gardens, at parks and on playgrounds. She would create forts and enchanted nooks where she would make books come to life. Janis was a wise and constant figure in her children’s lives. She was courageous, forever challenging and unwavering in her loyalty. She loved to have talks with her kids where she would subtly express her pride in them. Janis was energetic and inquisitive, she fostered a spirit of independence and resilience through her conduct and exemplified the type of person they would strive to be. Janis was in perpetual motion and lived life to its fullest. She was a voracious reader, loved music and dancing, had a wicked sense of humor and swore like a long shoreman. She believed it was never too late to learn something new. She got a passport, her ears pierced and learned to golf at 50. She traveled to Ireland with dear friends, fulfilling a promise made to her father and a lifelong dream.

Janis moved to the Villages in Florida where she was reunited with her lifelong friend, Sue. She sped over the golf cart paths, enjoyed air shows, movies, dances and concerts. She loved to line dance but floated away during water aerobics which she gave up for pickle ball and more time on the golf course. She golfed and lunched with the Lady Bugs and was extremely proud of her hole in one.

Even as a young girl, Janis, had an intimate relationship with her God that sustained her through life’s hardships. She has rejoined Him now and is at peace. She will be remembered by her family, her name will be spoken often, and her children will pay tribute to her through their acts of good will.

Janis is predeceased by her parents, Christopher Feenan and Bridget Murphy, and siblings Kathryn Arwas, Christopher Feenan, John Feenan, and Thomas Feenan. Janis is survived by her children Christy Beck and Harold Beck, and many beloved nieces and nephews.

Relatives and friends are invited to calling hours on Friday, August 6 from 5pm to 7pm at Armer Funeral Home, Inc., 39 East High Street, Ballston Spa. A memorial mass will be celebrated 12:30pm Saturday, August 7 at St. Joseph’s Church, 35 Hill Street, Greenwich. Memorial contributions in memory of Janis may be made to Saratoga County Animal Shelter, 6010 County Farm Road, Ballston Spa, NY 12020.

Guest Book

Dana Homick

What a light in my life. When I was still living in New York she was an energetic spirit you could never capture because she was always on the go. We laughed hysterically several times at Friendly's, she would say to me it's the carbohydrates Dana it's the carbohydrates. We would giggle all the way home. She went out of her way for me and I will never ever forget her or you or Hal. The horse shows, their road trip her and I took to the villages, and then down to Sarasota. We had such great memories. She will be missed by myself, Tara, And Ralph, my spouse. I am forever grateful I had the honor to have her in my life. It certainly changed for the better because of her. May she Rest In Peace.

Mary C Mahoney

Christy and Hal, you must know how much I loved your mother. Sitting in her kitchen while listening to you guys was incomparable. Her laugh alone was worth the price of admission. Please know she will always be in my heart. And if there is anyway, anything that might buoy you up, please give me a call. It would be an honor. Besides, I love you.

Noel Cook

A great person as a friend and neighbor, when on Malta Ave., was sad day when show moved to Saratoga. It is now a sadder day and she'll be missed deeply by people who knew her. My heart and prayers go out to her and family. RIP Janis, you'll always be remembered.

Noel & Charmaine Cook

Jan Bancroft

I knew Janis for 3 years when were at Potsdam. We continued to stay in touch for many years and had a couple mini reunions, though not anywhere near Potsdam but in Boone, NC and Atlanta. Christy you came with your Mom to that one at Mary Ann’s house! She was the queen of “to do “ lists and I have no doubt she is making a list right now of things she will be doing. I was glad I knew her your family is in my prayers.

Janice McClister

So sorry for your loss. We have another angel in heaven.

Renee Damico- McClements

Mrs. Beck was one unforgettable teacher. She opened the door for me with how she taught writing, which is still a passion I have to deal with life. She connected and cared about her students. My prayers and thoughts are with her family during this difficult time while you celebrate the amazing life she lead.

Greg Stevens

Thoughts and prayers are with her family. She touched many of our lives.

Joanne Monaco

Had the pleasure of her being my teacher in HS! Some teachers you never forget and she was one of them so sorry for your loss.

Lisa Miranda

Mrs Beck was always so nice. I remember her well as I grew up right around the corner from her. She was a wonderful teacher and person. My thoughts are with her family.

John Schneider

Made me a better student.

Erin-Christine Thompson

I am so sorry for your loss. I have very fond memories of Mrs. Beck in high school. There was no way that you could be in a classroom with her and not know how much she loved teaching and literature.
Her life is certainly an inspiration to everyone that had the pleasure of knowing her. I will keep your family in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time and always.

Laura (Fasake) Patton

I am incredibly sorry to hear the sad news of your mother's passing. Mrs. Beck was a truly inspiring teacher and I am so lucky to have been a student in her class. She pushed me to "think outside the box" and helped me come out of my shell and sparked an interest in creative writing, especially poetry, something my teenage self frequently did to express feelings I couldn't say aloud. She helped give me confidence (something I severely lacked) and made me feel like my ideas and thoughts really mattered. I remember for one particular assignment, we had to bring in song lyrics to our favorite song and learned that music is poetry. She played what she told us was her favorite song at the time, "No Rain" by Blind Melon (a song that makes me think of her every time I hear it still to this day), and we analyzed the figurative language and theme of the song. She wasn't like other teachers... she was funny, a little quirky, and made learning fun and relevant. She had such a tremendous impact on me that I went on to become an English teacher myself, though I am nowhere as good a teacher as she was. I can only hope to be like her someday. To her family, and especially Hal, my classmate, I am truly sorry for your loss. I can only imagine how such an amazing teacher would be as a mom and hope you will never forget the lessons she taught you. I pray for peace on your hearts.
God bless you,
Laura