Janice Louise (Rothe) Potts

Janice Rothe Potts

Table Rockers have suffered another heartbreaking loss, as our friend Jan Potts has passed on. Her son, Randy, was kind enough to provide the following beautiful eulogy, so I will simply step aside and share it:

It falls to but a few of mankind to pass three score and eleven years allotted to them and to but a very few is given the distinction of reaching the status of a “friend to many and a compassionate soul to all” as Janice Potts of Yerington, Nevada.

Mrs. Potts was born 71 years ago on January 2 in Phillips Co., near Hays, Kansas. She was adopted by her loving mother Opal “Nadine” (Higbee) Gordon of Ft. Scott, Kansas within hours of her birth. Her mother who cared and nurtured her and later along with her father, Leland Harold Rothe, of Otis, Kansas who adopted young Janice himself in 1950.

Mrs. Potts as a teenager moved to Colorado with her family and experienced the tragedy of her father’s sudden death in 1961 while still attending High School. Overcoming such a difficult situation, Jan would persist and was a member of the first graduating class of Ranum High School in Westminster, Colorado.

As one of only twenty-five national scholarship recipients of the John F. Kennedy’s extension of the National Defense Education program, Jan was enrolled in computer science studies in 1964 at Colorado State University in Ft. Collins, Colorado. Mrs. Potts is thought to be one of the earliest female pioneers in the drive to technology superiority in the United States.

Jan met “Mister Tall Dark and Handsome” by way of introduction by her mother whom had, herself, only recently become acquainted with Richard Lee Potts of Denver, Colorado. Mr. Potts had performed service work for the mother. Within days of the chance meeting between the mother and “Mister Mysterious”, Jan took her vehicle to the station; where Rich approached the vehicle and Jan exclaimed “I don’t want you, I want Larry.” Well, romance blossomed into a fifty-year plus marriage and a lasting love affair between Rich and Jan culminating in their union on September 2, 1966 in Security, Colorado.

Jan’s loves and passions always included her first devotion to the care and dedication to her family. Those that know Jan, feel that the love she received from her adopted family and the expansion of the household borne by her marriage resulted in the quest to research and seek out more information in the science and study of genealogy.

Although Jan was never directly able to find the answers she desired most regarding her birth-family, many clues over time would happen across her path. The first clue came to her via her aunt and uncle when they presented her with a book in 1970 which was titled “How to Sleep on a Windy Night: The Story of Dr. Mary” with an inscription inside: “Didn’t I pick some great parents for you,” signed Dr. Mary. She was told by her aunt and uncle that her personal story was contained within the pages of the book.

Later and after many years of traditional genealogical research, technological advances crept into Jan’s labors – DNA tests for ethnicity & genealogy. One of Jan’s happiest moments came from the ability to identify and converse directly with an equally devoted genealogist who also happened to be biologically related as near as possibly: a second-cousin some-times removed. Mrs. Potts mentioned on numerous occasions her fascination with the families’ lives and stories occurring in the days of the great rebellion between the States. She wished for the day that time travel became a reality so she could meet, visit and learn directly about the family.

The fascination of this period by Mrs. Potts is not focused on the political and economics of the war, but rather on the great calamity and sacrifice that affected the Nation and the daily lives of her citizens. The impact to women, children, and the families torn apart and how the survival and perseverance of the everyday person would be etched in the following generations always surrounded Mrs. Potts’ thoughts of that time.

The family will be holding a closed family remembrance and ask all family friends to honor the memory of Jan in joyful celebration and in lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to:

The Fort Sumter/Fort Moultrie Historical Trust
ATTN: Janice Potts memorial
40 East Bay Street
Charleston, SC 29401

Survivors include her husband, Richard Lee Potts of Yerington, Nevada; son and his wife Randy and Kimberley Potts of Charleston, South Carolina; daughter and her husband Jodie and Garth Hamblin of Rock Springs, Wyoming; Grandchildren: Britania and Konstanz Potts of Rock Springs, Wyoming; Koryn and her husband Benjamin Botkin of Gretna, Louisiana; Megan of Rapid City, South Dakota; Gunner, Kayleigh and Timberly Hamblin of Rock Springs, Wyoming; Jyssica and her husband Grant Hertherington of Denver, Colorado; Kevin Lasco of Ft. Collins, Colorado; Corey Lasco and his fiancée Mindy Nickelson of Saratoga, Wyoming; Makayla Robidoux and her fiancée Austin Jones of Charleston, South Carolina; and, Tiana Robidoux of Charleston, South Carolina. Great-Grandchildren: Bradlee Botkin and Easton Jones.

She was preceded in death by her father Leland Harold Rothe; mother Opal “Nadine” (Higbee) Elam; and brother Ronald Lee Rothe.

Janice’s final resting place is located in the family cremains plot nearest to her loving mother and brother in Lone Mountain Cemetery, Carson City, Nevada.

About Dana

I spent 7 years at Table Rock with my wife, daughter and son. After transferring in from the Amarillo, Texas survey crew, I worked as a Plant Operator at Table Rock Processing Plant and later as a General Technician. Like most Table Rockers, life in Table Rock Village and working (and playing) in the Wyoming Red Desert had a great impact on the person I became. I now make my living as a freelance writer and I am working on a book about Table Rock and how it shaped the lives of the residents. I hope to share the stories of fellow Table Rockers as well as my own.
In Memoriam, Table Rockers

3 comments


  1. Lisa Vermillion

    I think I just met Jan for the first time! Randy, what a great and loving tribute to your mother. Randy, Chad, Darci and I will be thinking of and praying for your family in the days to come.

  2. Amy callendar-Taft

    My deepest condolences and love! #31

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