Janet Lucille Diaz was brought to the world on February 7, 1940, the seventh of thirteen children born to William Lloyd and Florence Lucille McSwain (nee Moyer) in Belle Glade, Florida.
She was called home to be with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on August 23, 2021.
Those short eighty-one years were filled with enough family, friends, joys, disappointments, trials, achievements, service, gratitude, love, devotion and life to write a large book.
Jan, as she was known, was most adamant about her faith in God and came to know her savior Jesus Christ at the age of twelve years old. Her faith and devotion grew ever stronger with each passing year. She was supremely confident of her destiny to live in the House of the Lord when her time here was finished.
Among her fondest memories are those of growing up in Kendall, Florida. She talked often about Mama and Daddy and her eleven brothers and sisters. The house was crowded and she had to sometimes “wait for a fork,” but with all those kids around, she said “there was always someone to play with”. Mom told of how she would go grocery shopping with Daddy after church on Sundays and fill up two grocery carts! In the early days there was no indoor plumbing and they used an outhouse.
Mom loved going to the beach at Matheson Hammock with her sisters and friends. Mom attended Coral Gables High School. She remained excited about seeing Elvis Presley in concert in Miami when she was a young lady of eighteen in 1958. Her favorite Elvis song was “Don’t Be Cruel.” Needless to say, Mom just loved Elvis’s gospel music.
She liked a variety of music from 1950’s rock & roll, as well as Christian artists including Sandi Patty, Keith Green, the Imperials, the Gaither Vocal Band, Signature Sound, the Oakridge boys and Alabama. She also liked modern county music and was a fan of Josh Turner.
Mom really enjoyed listening to talk radio, and was a big fan of Rush Limbaugh from his early days in the 1980’s. She also liked to listen to Art Bell and George Noory on the program Coast to Coast.
She married her first husband Robert (Bob) Collins in 1958 in Miami. They relocated to the Bay Area of California in 1961, where they moved from Oakland to San Leandro to Hayward before finally landing in Martinez in 1965. Their three children were born, Karen (Kari) 1963, Pam 1965, and Chris 1967. And despite the struggles a young family faces, what a great mom she was! Lovingly devoted to her kids.
Destiny unfolded in 1973 when Janet met the love of her life, Francisco (Frank) Diaz at “Little Italy,” the restaurant where they both worked in Concord, California. They sanctified their love by getting married in 1978. Mom and Frank loved to travel. They took trips to Florida, Alaska and Europe.
Over the years, Mom worked at variety of different jobs.
As a teen-ager she staffed the Five and Dime Store.
While in Miami, she became a police dispatcher.
In Oakland she was a bank teller.
She also took on the challenging job of a waitress, and worked in several restaurants in the Concord area including; Lyons, Sambo’s, Little Italy, the Sheraton, the Concord Inn, the Parthenon, and Pepe’s.
In 1984 mom left the restaurant business and began selling Mary Kay cosmetics. She even went to the big convention in Texas to see Mary Kay!
Mom began her housecleaning business in the bay area in 1985 and continued that up until 2016. She was an impeccable housecleaner and her clients became her close friends. They all loved her and considered her part of the family
From the hustle bustle of the big city Bay Area, Mom and Frank did a complete makeover and in 1995 moved to quiet little Oroville, the City of Gold in the Sierra foothills.
Mom moved out to daughter Pam’s property in South Oroville after Frank’s death in 1996. She lived in a cute little mobile home. It was the perfect place for Mom and her Green Thumb. She had a life-long passion for growing flowers and plants of all kinds. Claudia was her best friend and they had regular shopping dates to go “Flowering” at the local nurseries. They always found something of interest and beauty. She could not resist buying flowers and her yard was always full of her babies.
Gardening in the “wild” is not without challenges. Water, weather and insects are the obvious concerns. But the more unique destructive force were the deer! . She and her son Chris devised a plan for the bold flower and fruit eaters. Dutiful Chris would fill her empty water bottles from the well and stockpile them on the deck. Armed with ample ammunition she would hurl those bottles at the trespassers from her observation post.
Despite her busy existence, Mom always made time for God. She attended the Oroville Church of the Nazarene and Palermo Baptist Church. She was a member of many bible studies over the years and most recently was attending a study with best friend Claudia. Mom was an invaluable member of the group. Her knowledge of end time events and biblical prophecy were extraordinary. Mom also had profound gifts of wisdom and mercy. She was especially adept at listening to others and helping them with the perfect prayer for the situation. Mom shared her faith with everyone, including strangers!
Every Christmas she would lead us all in singing Happy Birthday to Jesus. One year she ordered a big “Happy Birthday Jesus” banner and she and son Chris snuck out in the middle of the night to hang it from the train trestle overpass on Oro Dam Blvd.
Always the “Giver,” Mom made a difference with her volunteer work at the Caring for Women Pregnancy Resource Center in Oroville. She also volunteered in the kitchen at their annual High Tea at Church of the Nazarene. Her “Servant’s Heart” led her to house sitting and pet sitting for her friends.
In line with her artistic nature, Mom loved to sew. She made dresses for her girls when they were kids and even made Kari’s beautiful wedding dress! Seems like those who sew also bake and Mom just loved to bake! She was famous for her delicious Pecan pies and of course as a Florida gal, Key Lime pies.
Mom was on the go a lot. When she did relax she enjoyed watching movies on video. Her favorite was Anne of Green Gables, having watched it at least a Hundred times! She also loved Downton Abbey and was becoming a fan of The Chosen. Mom was also hooked on the first few seasons of American Idol and loved Clay Aiken.
When all was said and done, Mom loved her family. She loved her kids. She adored her four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
We will always love and miss mom. We will use her name for a blessing while we await the time when we will be reunited in Heaven and experience no pain and sorrow.
Janet is preceded in death by her parents, Lloyd and Florence McSwain, brothers, Billy, Bobby, Philip and Tommy; and sisters Baby McSwain, Jewel, Doris, Annie and Pam; Husband Frank Diaz, and son-in-law Gary Pippin.
Janet is survived by brother Carroll McSwain (Donnie) and sisters Kathy Williams (Rodney) and Deborah McSwain, her daughters, Karen (Kari) Schrank (Mick), Pamela Pippin-Cross (Terry), and Son, Christopher Collins, her grandchildren; Lindsey Delle (Cliff), Eric Pippin (Emma), Kevin Schrank (Gina), and Brian Schrank, and great-grandchildren; Kayla Schrank, Ian Delle,
Elijah Delle, Natalie Pippin and Madalyn Pippin, Sister-In-Law Pat Gay(John),and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.
There will be a Celebration of Life at Jan's home on October 16th at 1:00 PM. All who knew her are welcome.
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