Thursday, June 5, 2014

unofficial mayor of angelus oaks: mountain businesswoman fondly remembered

Janet Audrey Dickerson: 1934-2014
Janet Audrey Dickerson: 1934-2014

A mountain businesswoman who ran the Country Store on Highway 38 in Angelus Oaks for more than 25 years was remembered Thursday during a memorial service in Beaumont.

Janet Audrey Dickerson died May 28 in Angelus Oaks. She was 79.

Between 1981 and 2007, Jan and her Country Store were well-known to generations of mountain residents, visitors, and travelers along a 50-mile stretch of the 38 between Mentone and Big Bear.

She was insightful, savvy and hardworking, and she made the store an essential destination for campers, fishermen, hikers, hunters, snow-players, motorcyclists, bicyclists, public safety personnel and everyone else in between.

"Country Store Jan" was known for her generous heart and ready smile, and she was respected and adored by those whose lives she touched, family members said in an obituary notice.

Pastor Dennis Sattler of Amethyst Bible Church in Mentone recalled Jan as a dear friend and trusted neighbor when he lived across the street from the Dickersons in Angelus Oaks from 1995 to 2001.

Jan understood the mountains and people who are drawn to them, and she knew her central role in her community included responsibility, Sattler told scores of family, friends and loved ones at Weaver Mortuary Chapel on Thursday afternoon.

She once gave her store keys to fire department personnel with permission to distribute food and drink to whoever needed it in the event of fire or earthquake, Sattler said.

"She lived this life with all of us loving her," Sattler said. "'This is the closest to God we get,' she used to say of the mountains."

Pattie Dickerson of Calimesa recalled working with her mom at the Country Store beginning in 1991.

"This is when my mom and I became very close," Pattie said, reading from handwritten notes. "Now I was no longer just her daughter, I was her business partner and her friend.

"She taught me to work hard," Pattie said. "Sometimes, in the whirlwind of summer activity in the mountains, or winter with chain sales, it was very, very hard work. She taught me that a job you love is not a chore. Not just an eight-hour day, but an unmeasurable collage of work and fun and unforgettable people.

"She taught me her sense of duty and how to treat everyone who came through that door as the most important person in the world."

The following is from the Dickerson family's obituary, posted by Weaver Mortuary: 

Jan Dickerson ("Country Store Jan"), long time Angelus Oaks business owner and resident, joined the love of her life, Larry, in heaven on Wednesday, May 28th after a peaceful passing, surrounded by loved ones in her mountain home.

Born in Spokane, Washington in 1934, her family relocated to Belmont Shores in Long Beach when she was nine. It was while walking the beaches of Long Beach that, at the tender age of 18, she met Larry, a handsome, engaging Marine who was on leave before deploying to the battlefields of Korea. After a long year Larry returned to marry his sweetheart and embark on almost 60 years of a life together.

Jan and Larry raised their family in Santa Ana, California, but while on a hunting trip in the mountains, Larry discovered a beautiful little town names Angelus Oaks. He convinced his frugal wife they needed to purchase a lot. Little by little they built their mountain home with the help of friends and family. It was here that they shared their fondest memories. When their children were grown, they made this vacation cabin their permanent home and both started new careers- Larry as a sheriff and Jan as the owner/proprietor of the Country Store. The rest is history.

What a magical childhood she gave to both her children and grandchildren. She was a hands-on Momma and Grams, turning off the television and introducing those she loved to the mountains she loved. She took time out of her busy schedule to babysit her grandchildren and tried her best to attend all ball games, dance recitals, and honor ceremonies. She was such an integral part of her grandchildren's lives that even their friends regarded her as their "Grams."

Janet Audrey Dickerson photo at Weaver Mortuary, Beaumont, Calif.

Jan lost her beloved Larry in November of 2011. She is survived by her brother George Nason of Long Beach, CA and her sister Carol Ryan of Pueblo, CO. She will be deeply missed by her children Donald and Deedee Wells of Norco, Charlene Cochran of Angelus Oaks, Michael and Evelyn Dickerson of Yucaipa, and Chris and Patti Willard of Calimesa. Her absence will be acutely felt by her grandchildren Desiree, Danielle, Brandon, David, Dusty, and her newest admirer, her great-granddaughter Alorah.

Jan's life was celebrated by friends and family on June 5th, three days before she would have celebrated her 80th birthday. Private burial for Jan is planned at Riverside National Cemetery.

For more information and photos, visit the Janet Audrey Dickerson page at


1 comment:

charlene cochran said...

This is an amazing article about my mom. Thank you so much for this tribute to her life. She is truly missed by her family, friends and community. She is now With our dad. May they both rest in peace. They will never be forgotten and always in our hearts. We love them beyond words. -Charlene dicketson-