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Janice L. Lingan “Jan”

July 24, 1932 – September 16, 2015

Janice L. Lingan, age 83, of New Castle, DE, died on Wednesday, September 16, 2015 in the comfort of her home.
Jan was born in Charlottesville, VA to the late James F. and Ruby M. Lingan. When she was in preschool, the Lingan family moved to Delaware where Jan continued to reside for the rest of her life. After graduating from St. Elizabeth High School, she was awarded a scholarship to Mount St. Scholastica College (now Benedictine College) in Atchison, KS. Jan later earned a master’s degree in social work from the University of Pennsylvania.
She began her career in public social services with the Delaware Department of Public Welfare, which would later become the Department of Health and Social Services and then the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families. Jan worked and advanced in many capacities: as a line social worker, caseworker, supervisor, administrator, county director and operations manager. Together with attorneys nationally involved with the case, she helped to develop amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) documentation for the 1967 suit which led to the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision abolishing residence requirements for federally-funded assistance programs. Named to the original board of Community Law Service – a forerunner of the present Community Legal Aid Society, Jan successfully advocated for the expansion of free legal services to Kent and Sussex counties. As a county director, she implemented a neighborhood-based deployment of staff for the first time, which served as an early model for the current State Service Center system. Under Jan’s supervision, graduate degree students piloted an adult protective services inititative that is now a regular program. She also designated and implemented the department’s original review process of the services provided to children in foster care.
Many of the department’s employees under Jan’s supervision went on to positions of authority and responsibility at both the state and national levels. They included professors, researchers, attorneys and administrators. In May of 1987, then governor, The Honorable Michael N. Castle, awarded her the Governor’s Diamond State Award in recognition of exceptionally meritorious service to Delaware. Jan retired after 40 years of dedicated employment in state social services.
Until her mother’s death in 2004, she and Jan were an inseparable pair. They loved to travel, visiting 60 different countries and all continents, except Antaractica. In later years, they toured the U.S. extensively, concluding that our nation was the most beautiful of all countries.
Jan was a member of the National Association of Social Workers, the Academy of Certified Social Workers, the AARP and a host of volunteer organizations. She was a parishioner of Our Lady of Fatima R.C. Church, took great joy in her faith and quietly and earnestly practiced the Golden Rule. Jan was a friend to many, extending help as needed without fanfare. She was devoted to her friends and large extended family.
She is survived by her cousins, to many of whom she was “Aunt Jan,” Barbara Liptrap, Richenda, Charles and Jessica Garrison, Lynda Liptrap, Nancy and R.K. Higgins, John Hall, Ruth and James Peters, P.M. Hall, Michele, Dennis and Jarreth Berry, Rose, Kenneth and Brandon McNeal, Shannon Barksdale, Nicole, Thomas and Corbin Stevens and Patricia and Roland Cumor; her godchild, Leann Murphy; special friends, Michelle and Joe Anderson, George Agster, Diane Kennedy, Theresa Sarver and Mark S. and Sara Tavani; and a host of other devoted family and friends.
A visitation for family and friends will be held from 9:30 am until 10:30 am on Monday, September 21, 2015 at the Spicer-Mullikin, 1000 N. DuPont Parkway, New Castle, DE. Mass of Christian Burial will be offered following the visitation at 11 am at Our Lady of Fatima R.C. Church, 801 N. DuPont Parkway, New Castle. Interment will follow in All Saints Cemetery, Wilmington, DE.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in Jan’s memory may be made to the Benedictine Sisters, St. Gertrude Monastery, 1429 Benedictine Lane, Ridgely, MD 21660.

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  1. Sr. Margaret Mary Graney, OSB, September 21, 2015

    Dear family of Jan,

    I am a Benedictine Sister at St. Gertrude Monastery in Ridgely. Thank you for remembering us. I want you to know that I too graduated from St. Elizabeth High School and Benedictine College in Atchison, KS. I’m sorry that I did not know Jan.

    May she rest in peace.

    Sr. Margaret Mary

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