Wasco loses a beloved friend in Stephen Janzen
Last updated 10/4/2022 at 6:19am | View PDF
Stephen Lee Janzen came from a well-respected family in Wasco. A public servant, he was active in the City Council and served as mayor. After a life of many accomplishments, he passed earlier this month at the age of 80.
Janzen was born in Wasco in 1942, the oldest child of Darrell and Ruth Janzen, who raised him in the First Baptist Church. He was one of three siblings.
He attended local schools where he excelled in academics and sports.
"Stephen was a very strong track runner as a quarter-miler. He ran the 440 and set records there at Wasco High School. He also did really well at running while at Bakersfield College," said his brother, Keith Janzen.
After enjoying much success at WHS, Janzen went to Westmont College and Bakersfield College. Later, he attended and graduated from the University of Southern California, with degrees in political science and pharmacy.
Upon completion, he returned to Wasco to join Janzen Drug, the family business, where he went to work with his father.
"When our dad retired, he bought the business," said Keith.
Janzen was a humble man who believed deeply in the word of God. He spent his free time reading biblical scriptures and practicing the teachings of Christ.
"He was an avid reader and spent all morning reading the Bible and in the afternoon reading novels," said Keith.
Keith adds, "I will most miss his wit and ability to communicate with others. He could strike up a good conversation with anyone and hold it because he was so well read and versed in practically any subject you could think of."
On weekends you could find him watching college football.
He married Linda Campbell in 1969 and dedicated over 53 years of marriage to her. She had lived in an apartment above the drugstore, which is how they met.
In the 1980s, he moved to Yucca Valley, then Lancaster, finally settling in Atascadero. In 2017, he returned to the Valley and resided in Bakersfield.
Linda was a Spanish teacher and counselor at Wasco High School. She later became an education administrator and would often get promotions.
"Stephen would accompany her to all the new cities she was hired in and work at various drugstores where they lived," said Keith.
Janzen was a family man.
"He had a very strong relationship with his wife and would usually be with us on holidays," said Keith
He enjoyed traveling.
"They did some pretty big trips, including a safari in Africa and a tour of Europe," said Keith
Keith added, "I will miss the times growing up and vacationing to Lake Tahoe together. We had fun there too."
He enjoyed a good meal.
"Stephen had a taste for food and liked to go out to nice restaurants," said Keith.
Sam Sikola, a member of the Wasco Rotary Club, said, "He was a Rotarian and a great guy, very friendly and knowledgeable about his business."
Janzen is survived by his wife, sister, brother, nephews and nieces, including nine great nieces and nephews.
He was laid to rest at Shafter Memorial Park.
"Stephen will be remembered for his intelligence and kind demeanor towards others," said Keith.