Jan Masae Polen (formerly Lindsay, née Alps) left this world surrounded by her beloved sons in her 73rd year of life, on December 5, 2020. Jan was born on March 10, 1947 in Teaneck, NJ. She lived and enjoyed life in New York City, Old Forge, Syracuse, and Dewitt, NY, before embarking on an adventure and moving across the country to Bellingham, then Ferndale, WA. Following high school, she spent two years in Paris, France, where she studied, worked as an au pair, and enjoyed the city with her best friend Linda Martin from Old Forge.
Jan was a very loving, kind, gentle and giving person, and she had a profound impact on the lives of many. She earned her Master's degree in Special Education from Syracuse University, studying part time while raising three sons, which led to her career teaching special needs students in LaFayette school district in central New York, and then in Ferndale after moving to northwest Washington state. Jan loved being a teacher, and she continued to tutor children and substitute teach after retiring in 2013.
Jan's sons and their families were the pride and joy of her life: Adam, his wife Rosemary, and grandchildren Helena, Peter and Ted; Ian, his wife Shannon, and grandchildren Adrian, Connor, Xander and Duncan; and Kevin, his partner Savannah, and grandson Fox. She is predeceased by her husband David Polen; her mother Amy Alps; her father and step-mother Bill and Meiling Alps; and her former husband Jay Lindsay.
Jan will be sadly missed by her brother Taro Alps and his wife Mary; niece Trina Alps (Ian Kirton) and their children Keith and Alyssa; stepbrothers David Weiss (Kathryn) and Aaron Weiss; half-brother Derek Alps; and half-sister Marisa Alps (Michele Mocellin). She will be lovingly remembered by her Kashiwa cousins Hank (Jamie), Joanna (Peter Brakeley), Miriam (Jim McManus), Bryan (Lynda) and Gannon (Sallie), with whom she grew up in Old Forge. Jan's cousins, family and friends in Washington have been an immense support at this time, with special thanks to Amy Kashiwa and Amy Nylen.
Jan was a friend to everyone she met, and although she left us before we were ready, she touched all of our lives and made the world a better place. With sadness in our hearts, we find comfort in knowing that she is in a better place.