Cover photo for Janet  Elaine Hinen's Obituary
Janet  Elaine Hinen Profile Photo
1960 Janet 2018

Janet Elaine Hinen

November 7, 1960 — June 18, 2018

Creative, generous, and kind, Janet Elaine Hinen lived a faith-centered life rich in family and service to others. A woman who led with her heart, Janet's love of life radiated out to the hearts of others often providing a safe harbor from life's challenges. A devoted sister, aunt, teacher, and friend, Janet was an inspiration for all who knew her. Though the world is undoubtedly less certain in the absence of Janet's steadfast presence, the flame of her beautiful legacy will continue to shine in the hearts and lives of those who will carry her memory and legacy forward.

On November 7, 1960, Robert Michael and Ruth Joan (Trahin) Hinen joyfully welcomed their fourth child, Janet, into their hearts and home at Whitley County Memorial Hospital. Growing up on the family farm in Washington Township in Whitley County, Janet enjoyed a childhood spent exploring the outdoors. She loved being with her family and playing outside. Many happy memories were made playing ghost in the graveyard, volleyball, swimming and going to the lake, and playing in the snow.

Eager to learn and explore, Janet participated in the Future Educators of America, Cheer Block, Sunshine Society and was a proud member of the National Honor Society. She was also a 10 year 4-H member and participated in in baking and showing beef and hogs. Janet graduated from Columbia City High School with the Class of 1979.

With a passion for children, Janet knew at an early age that she wanted to be a teacher. After earning her teaching degree from Ball State University in 1983, she began her career at Saint Henry's in Fort Wayne. After a year, she returned home where she spent the rest of her career teaching for Whitley County Community Schools systems. Janet was a dedicated teacher who cared deeply for her students. A powerful stand for each of her kids, she was always active in their lives. She supported her students in all their activities and kept track of them throughout their lives. It wasn't uncommon for a former student to receive a card acknowledging their graduation or other accomplishment years after they were in her elementary classroom. To ensure each child's smooth transition to school, Janet spent much of her own time visiting each student at their home before the year began. She introduced herself to each one and spent time getting to know them and their family. Once in her classroom, her students quickly learned that not only did their teacher value a good education, she also understood the importance of having fun! Water balloon fights were a long-held tradition many students enjoyed. With her signature organization skills, Janet even put on a carnival at Little Turtle Elementary to raise money for a Cancer Services.

As she clearly understood that the best teachers were lifelong learners themselves, Janet pursued and earned her Master's Degree in Education from Indiana University Purdue University Fort Wayne. Janet consciously built her life upon teaching, supporting and guiding young people. With signature vision, organization, passion, and belief, she brought out the best in those she mentored, often inspiring them to take the risks to shine in ways they could not imagine on their own. Whether it be students, nieces, nephews, or friends, Janet was an undoubtable believer who relished in helping youth discover and courageously embrace their gifts. After more than 30 years of teaching our local children, Janet retired in 2016.

Janet's family was her heart's delight, and she cherished spending time with them. She loved going to the local 4-H fair and participating with her siblings and later in life with her nieces and nephews show and compete. She considered her fellowship at St. Catherine's Catholic Church of Alexandria family as well and gave much of her time and talents in service of this community she so treasured. She was a devoted member of her church and their Rosary Sodality. A proud former member of Tri Kappa, Janet felt called to serve in many ways. She spent many hours visiting shut-ins either at their homes or nursing homes and she also lovingly penned many a letter of encouragement over the years. Without a doubt, many lives have been deeply touched, moved, and inspired by Janet's love and generosity.

A woman of many interests, Janet embraced each day with a sense of adventure and deep gratitude. She loved singing--especially Christmas caroling, scrapbooking, and reading. Janet was well known for her ability to keenly organize anything--including vacations and going out to eat. While blessed to travel often with her family, she was especially grateful to check off vacationing in Australia, Hawaii, and New York on her bucket list.

While our days with Janet were far too few, it is clear that each one was a gift to be treasured. In Janet's heart, each of us knew without a doubt that we were loved, valued, and enough just the way we are. Janet embodied her faith; she loved freely, forgave wholly, welcomed all, encouraged peace, and remained humble. In so doing, she taught each of us how to live fully with both grace and gratitude.

Janet Elaine Hinen, 57, of Columbia City, Indiana, passed away at 4:45 p.m. Monday, June 18, 2018, in the comforts of her sister's home.

She is survived by her loving siblings, Carol A. (Donald) Greulich, of Columbia City, Susan M. (Michael) Fry, of Sammamish, Washington, Donald E. (Joann) Hinen, of Columbia City and Patricia L. (Kirk) Trabert, of Columbia City; nieces and nephews, Cara (Dane) Starkey, Jenny (Jeff) Shepherd, Amy Greulich, Lauren (Ben) Shinneman, Mallory (Chris) Tompsett, Steven Fry, Bridget, Megan and John Hinen, Josh (Amy) Trabert and Wes Trabert; and great-nieces and nephews, Caroline Starkey, Abbie and Eli Shepherd and Holly Trabert. She is preceded in death by her parents, Robert Michael and Ruth Joan Hinen.

Visitation will be 2-8 p.m. Friday, June 22, 2018, at DeMoney-Grimes, A Life Story Funeral Home, 600 Countryside Drive, Columbia City. Rosary Recitation will take place at 1:30 p.m. Friday at the funeral home. Additional visitation will be from 9-9:30 a.m. Saturday at St. Catherine's Catholic Church, SR 9 South, Columbia City. The Funeral Mass will follow at 10 a.m. at the church with Father Dale A. Bauman officiating. Committal services will, where she will be laid to rest beside her parents in the church cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be given to Masses, the Church Preservation Fund of St. Catherine's Catholic Church or to Giving a Helping Hand, through Whitley County Community Foundation. Visit to send her family online condolences.


DeMoney-Grimes a Life Story Funeral Home
600 Countryside Drive Columbia City, Indiana 46725

2:00 PM - 8:00 PM


St. Catherine's Catholic Church
9989 S State Road 9 Columbia City, Indiana 46725

9:00 AM - 9:30 AM


St. Catherine's Catholic Church
9989 S State Road 9 Columbia City, Indiana 46725

10:00 AM
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Janet Elaine Hinen, please visit our flower store.


Photo Gallery

Visits: 2

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree