Janis Blythe Brannen’s life began as an adventure. She was born on September 14, 1974 to Alice and Bob Brannen in their little duplex in San Jose, California, delivered by Bob himself because the midwives had already left for the day. The family moved to Chico in 1976, the home of Bob’s ancestors. Janis spent most of her days running through the neighborhood with friends, catching bugs, playing with pets, riding her bike, and bringing home wounded animals to nurture back to health. She had great compassion for all living things, but especially animals – so much that people sometimes referred to her as “Mrs. Doolittle.” In early adulthood, she earned a degree in Veterinary Assistance from Butte College, where she also played soccer, and she worked at Butte Humane Society for a time, as well as the Chico Hospital for Cats. She was athletic, intelligent, and had a wry sense of humor. She was also stunningly beautiful, with her long, blonde hair, green hazel eyes, and legs “for days.”
In 1994, Janis had her first daughter, Jasmine (29), who was followed by three more: Symone (27), Kiana (19), and Janessa (9). She dedicated the rest of her life to raising her beautiful girls and loved them fiercely. Janis was incredibly resourceful and always managed to find what she needed for her girls in the most creative of ways, which sometimes led to hilarious adventures. When she was a young woman, she loved dancing to reggae music in local parks and pubs. However, being a full-time mother led her to quieter pastimes like gardening, raising chickens, and making her home a haven from the hectic world. She once wrote, “I feel sometimes as though I wish I could be either the birds or the wolf frolicking in the lush green mountains of the wild. To be free. Free from cars and pollution. It's a much more beautiful world out there in the wilderness. A happy and free world.” Though her passing just after her 49th birthday was much too soon, and it leaves especially her daughters devastated, we know she has found a beautiful peace. To be sure, she is now frolicking in that “much more beautiful world. A happy and free world…”
Janis leaves behind four daughters Jasmine, Symone, Kiana, and Janessa, her mother Alice, sister Emily, stepfather Robert, best friend Melissa, and partner Frank. A Celebration of Life for Janis will be held on December 3, 2023 at 2pm at the Center for Spiritual Living, 14 Hillary Lane, in Chico.