Cover photo for Janice J. Sanftner's Obituary
Janice J. Sanftner Profile Photo
1947 Janice 2024

Janice J. Sanftner

May 2, 1947 — March 27, 2024

Janice J. Sanftner, of Albert Lea, MN, passed away on March 27, 2024, at home in Minnesota.

Jan was born on May 2, 1947, in Covington, KY, to Joseph and Hazel (Land) Mertes. She grew up in the Air Force, attending different schools nearly every year before marrying Gail Sanftner, whom she met in Colorado. They were wed and blessed with one son, David, who was the light of Jan's life.

Jan was an entrepreneur who excelled in sales all her life. She was a true businesswoman, from owning a Kirby Vacuum franchise to selling Tupperware and even running a ceramic shop. Later in life, she ventured into the world of mortgage brokering.

While operating the Kirby franchise, Jan met Alex Jara, and their friendship eventually blossomed into a long and fulfilling companionship. In 2015, Jan and Alex moved to North Platte, NE, to be near the Jara family. Alex passed away in 2016. Most recently, Jan had been making her home in Minnesota to be closer to her relatives.

Jan's love for playing cards and gambling was a testament to her adventurous spirit, making many memorable gambling trips "up the hill" with her lifelong friend, Judy Dumler. While living in Minnesota, she always looked forward to playing Pokeno with her sister and their friends, a game that brought them joy and laughter. Her creative spirit was always at work throughout her life, most recently in her newest hobby of creating beautiful diamond art paintings.

Jan is survived by her son, David, and his wife, Christine Sanftner; her five grandchildren: Orion Sanftner and his fiancée Jasmyn Wright, Isaiah Sanftner, Noah Sanftner, Josiah Sanftner, and Emma Sanftner, all of ID; step-mother, Corrie Peters; sister, Bev Loos; brothers, Eddie Mertes (Tiffany), Jim Mertes; sisters-in-law, Della Lunkwitz, Delores (Joe) Perez, Victoria Mesinbrink, Nina Arechiga, Maria (Willy) Blodgett; brothers-in-law, Junior (Alvina) Jara, Flugo (Connie) Jara, Joe (Carol) Jara, Adam (Dora) Jara; many nieces and nephews—special among whom were Brian and his wife, Jennifer Loos, and Brandi and her husband, Tim Dirkes, all of Minnesota—along with many other relatives and friends and her loving dog, Annie. Janice was preceded in death by her parents; her husbands, Gail Sanftner in 2000 and Alex Jara in 2016; and a brother, Steven Mertes; mother-in-law, Delores M. Jara; brothers-in-law, Barry W. Loos, Thomas Jara; sister-in-law, Mary Martinez; and a nephew, Cody Mertes.

A memorial has been established in Janice's memory, and condolences may be shared at

A Celebration of Life will be held on July 20, 2024, at 10:30 AM at the Prairie Hills Funeral Home in Ogallala, with interment of cremains in the Ogallala Cemetery.

Prairie Hills Funeral Home of Ogallala is in charge of arrangements.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Janice J. Sanftner, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Upcoming Services

Celebration Of Life for Janice J. Sanftner

Saturday, July 20, 2024

Starts at 10:30 am (Mountain time)

Prairie Hills Funeral Home

602 N Spruce St, Ogallala, NE 69153

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