Janet L. Kaizer


Janet L. Kaizer, age 74, passed away Sunday, October 28, 2018 at her residence in Peoria, IL.

Janet was born October 20, 1944 in Ft. Riley, Kansas, a daughter of Richard and Eleanor (Mitchell) Cook.  She married Edward Joseph Kaizer in April of 1974 in St. Louis, MO.  He survives, also surviving are their five children: Edward (Lynn) Kaizer of Ames, IA; Claire (Doug) Kasamis of Mundelein, IL; John Kaizer of Scottsdale, AZ; Laraine (Sasha) Kaizer-Viazovtsev of Finland; and Joseph Kaizer of Salem, NC; and six grandchildren: Alex Kaizer, Drew (Caitlyn) Kaizer, Nick Kaizer, Jackson Kasamis, Lexi Kasamis and Ella Kasamis.  

She was preceded in death by her parents and one brother, Randy Cook.

Janet graduated from Washington Community High School, received her music degrees from the University of Illinois, where she studied with Soulima Stravinsky, her Masters degree in Music performance at Bradley University, and completed course work toward her PHD at Washington University in St. Louis, MO.  Janet grew up playing country, jazz, and ragtime with her family and in 1984-85 she won the title of “World Champion Old-Time Piano Player.”  She was a clarinetist in the Marching Illini (UIUC) and taught high school choir in Washington, IL. She was honored to perform recitals and solo with orchestras across the United States, in Europe (Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland) and Mexico.  She is a retired Professor Emeritus from Bradley University and is well known for her keyboard performances and improvisational skills.

While Ed and Janet performed together all over the world, they also enjoyed performing in their hometown, Peoria, IL and the surrounding areas at churches, schools, festivals, The Civic Center, and the summer concerts at the Peoria Court House.

She was organist/pianist for fifty-three years in the Peoria area: St. Marks Church, Washington, IL 1960-1973; Salem Lutheran Church 1975-1979; and The First United Methodist Church 1979-2014. During these years she provided her memorable music for church services including: marriages, baptisms, funerals, anniversaries, and served as the choir organist and pianist for the past 35 years.  She was also an active member of the Music Teachers National Association-state and local chapters, Sigma Alpha Iota, American Guild of Organists, Central Illinois Jazz Society, Musician Union and Pi Kappa Lambda.

The love of her life was Ed Kaizer; following close behind were Bach and Debussy. Her love of Bach's genius and Debussy's musical paintings showed in her performances. Janet's talent was unique: she had perfect pitch, an ability to memorize music quickly and accurately, transpose to any key at will, and fit any style. Her family and friends will miss her kind, gentle, and loving personality that was also present in her music, and they thank God for sharing her with us.

A Memorial Service will be held on Friday, November 9th at 2:00pm in the First United Methodist Church, 116 NE Perry Ave, Peoria, IL 61603.

In lieu of flowers contributions of any size are appreciated to the Janet Kaizer Piano Scholarship, mail to "Slane College of Communications and Fine Arts” c/o CFA Advancement, 1501 West Bradley Avenue, Peoria IL  61625, or call 309-677-3442, or credit card, http://bradley.edu/giving. All donations to the scholarship in 
Janet's name will help music majors whose emphasis is piano at Bradley University.