Janice B. Willen, 89, artist, art instructor

November 28, 2003

Janice B. Willen, an artist and teacher of art therapy, died Sunday at Greater Baltimore Medical Center from complications relating to heart surgery. The Pikesville resident was 89.

Janice Bernstein was born and raised in Baltimore and attended Forest Park High School. She went on to study at the Maryland Institute College of Art, where she graduated in 1933.

She began her career as a fashion illustrator for the Brager-Eisenberg department store, and later taught watercolor and art therapy in several local nursing homes for Baltimore City Community College.

She held a group for working artists at her home every Monday until a month before her death. Her work appeared in numerous solo and group shows during her career, including a Baltimore Museum of Art juried show in the 1980s.

"Over 100 of her paintings hang in the homes of family and friends, and will be a constant reminder to the lucky owners not only of her talent, but also of her loving gentleness," said her son-in-law Howard Needle of Pikesville.

She was married to attorney Jack Mayer Willen for 66 years. "She was a devoted wife and a wonderful companion who brought exceptional joy to my life," he said.

Mrs. Willen was a member of Temple Oheb Shalom, where she was confirmed in 1931. She was active in the Temple Sisterhood.

Her other interests included knitting, sewing and cooking.

Services were private.

In addition to her husband, she is survived by three children, Susan W. Needle of Pikesville, Joan Willen Cohen of Phoenix and Dr. Richard Willen of Santa Fe, N.M.; six grandsons; and two great-grandchildren.

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