Long time Madison businesswoman and educational supporter
Madison - Janet Studesville, age 68, a long time resident of the Madison area, passed away on Tuesday, June 4, 2013 along with her husband, Alfonso Studesville, in a tragic motorcycle accident in rural Texhoma, Texas.

They had been married for almost four decades and were a constant presence in the political, cultural, educational and social fabric of Madison. They were inseparable and were driving forces for improving the educational opportunities for minority and lower income students. Both were founding members of non-profit organizations focused on providing mentoring and financial support for students in the Madison area.

Jan was born in New York City on December 21, 1944 and raised in Monroe, Wisconsin. She was the daughter of Dr. George R. and Kathryn Barry, longtime residents of Monroe. She graduated from Monroe High School in 1963 and was the class valedictorian. She had a life-long passion for fashion and designing clothes. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 1968 with a major in textile design. While in school, she met Alfonso Studesville, a student at University of Wisconsin-Platteville, and they were married in October of 1966.

Jan worked at Wisconsin Bell until taking early retirement to become an entrepreneur in an emerging industry. In 1984, she and Al opened the first nail salon in Madison, Just Nails, which they built into a very successful business.

Jan shared her husband's deep commitment to improving the educational opportunities and financial support network for minority and lower income students in the Madison area. In 1983, she became a founding member of Women in Focus, Inc., a non-profit organization run by a group of energetic, professional women from the Madison area dedicated to supporting and encouraging minority students to succeed in education. She was serving as the Vice President of Women in Focus at the time of her death. In addition to her volunteer work promoting literacy and education, Jan and her husband were actively involved in the arts and cultural events in Madison.

As much as she enjoyed being a successful business woman and supporter of educational opportunities, her true focus and passion in life was always on their son, Eric and his family. Eric graduated from Verona High School in 1985 and graduated from University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in 1989, where he played football. She was actively supportive of his coaching career and enjoyed attending his games. He has been a successful coach in the National Football League for 17 years and presently is the Running Backs Coach for the Denver Broncos.

The happiest days of Jan's life were the ones that she and Al spent with Eric and his family. They loved quality time like holidays, birthdays and vacations together. They always eagerly anticipated their grandchildren visiting Madison and spending time at their house. Their home was often a festive gathering place for family and friends, where they enjoyed hosting dinners and barbeques.

Jan Studesville is survived by her son, Eric, his wife Staci, her granddaughter, Sydni and grandson Eric Jr. of Lone Tree, Colorado; her father, George R. Barry of Madison; her brother, Rick and wife Trish of Middleton, her brother Don and wife Teiko of Alexandria, Virginia, her sister, Carol and husband Don from La Crosse, her niece, Erica of Madison, and four cousins in the Chicago area. Her mother, Kathryn Barry, preceded her in death.

Visitation for both Al and Jan will be at CRESS FUNERAL HOME, 6021 University Avenue, Madison, WI from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. on Friday, June 14. A celebration service for both will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 15, in the MITBY THEATER at MATC, 1701 Wright Street, Madison, with Pastor Alex Gee officiating. The family suggests that visitors wear attire to reflect a colorful celebration of life in the true spirit of Al and Jan.

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the Al and Jan Studesville Memorial Fund that will continue support for educational opportunities and scholarships for students in Madison. Programs through Women in Focus and 100 Black Men of Madison will be targeted.

Donations can be made online here.