Cover photo for Jana Lurene Roberts's Obituary
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Jana Lurene Roberts

d. November 2, 2015

Jana Lurene Roberts

Jana Lurene Roberts, 44, of Portland, Maine returned to the loving arms of her Savior, Jesus Christ on November 2, 2015 at her home. All who met her were taken in by her larger-than-life personality, infectious smile, and boisterous laugh. The ability to relate to people and to help them feel loved and understood was her special gift.

Jana, the second child of Boyd D and Amy Lurene (Gross) Roberts, was born in the Dewitt Army Hospital at Ft. Belvoir, Virginia on February 12, 1971. When Jana was two, and her brother Alan was four, the couple who lived below the Roberts' offered to help our family find a new apartment because the kids were "too rambunctious!" That word forever described Jana perfectly. After the family moved to Astoria, Oregon in 1972, Alisa, Wende and Jeffrey were born, and Jana quickly became the big sister. She loved life on the family farm and enjoyed raising show pigs, lambs, and rabbits for 4-H and receiving blue ribbons at the county and state fairs.

Jana was eleven when the family moved to Pocatello, Idaho, where her dad worked at Idaho State University. She enjoyed the benefits of living near the university and enjoyed bowling with her friends at the Student Union and swimming with her family at the campus pool. At Highland High School, Jana excelled in band, leadership, and student government. She was the leader of the drum line in the marching band, and was elected Student Body President in 1988. She earned a leadership scholarship to Brigham Young University. As part of her coursework, she took American Sign Language to fulfill her language requirement. She quickly discovered her talent for signing and working with the deaf community.

She earned a master's degree in Social Work from Gallaudet University in 1996, one of the few "hearing" students at the school in Washington, DC, and was then hired as a licensed clinical social worker serving the deaf community in and around Portland, Maine.

In 1998 she married James Harbaugh. To this union came daughter Hailey, and sons Jackson and Lucas Harbaugh, whom she adores. Jana and James were later divorced. In 2013, she married Rick Thurston who brought new joy into her life.

She worked in several private and public social work positions through the years as she raised her family. She opened a full-time counseling practice in 2011 and continued in that capacity until her untimely passing. She was a member of the Portland Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and for several years taught the adult Sunday school class. She spent many Sundays signing for deaf members during church meetings. Jana was preceded in death by her grandparents, Clyde and Winona Gross, and Luther and Enid Roberts. She is survived by her husband Rick and her children, her parents Boyd and Amy Roberts, sisters Alisa (David) Orr, Wende (Dean) Leavitt, brothers Alan (Jill) Roberts and Jeffrey (Crystal) Roberts, her mother-in-law Ginnie Thurston, sisters in law Deborah Thurston, Barbara (Tom) Beckwith, Susan (Brian) MacDonald, step children Grant, Read, and Gage Thurston, twelve favorite nieces and nephews, extended family, and beloved friends.

Memorial services will be held Saturday, November 14, 2015 at 12 noon in the LDS Chapel at the corner of Butte and Hiskey. The family will receive friends on Friday from 6:30-8:30 pm at the church. In lieu of flowers, the Jana Roberts Memorial Fund has been established for her children's college education. Contributions may be made at the Cumberland County Credit Union. Checks made out to the fund may be mailed to 1345 Washington Ave., Portland, Maine 04103. An online obituary is available at www.pocatellofuneral.com. Arrangements are under the direction of MANNING-WHEATLEY FUNERAL CHAPEL.

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