Mar 08, 1986---May 06, 2024

Janelle Marie Hilger and her loving smile returned to God on Monday night, May 6, 2024, after three years of a resilient, courageous battle with cancer. She was born March 8, 1986 in Overland Park KS to parents Nick and Sharon Hilger, brother Dan, and sister Laurel.

In retrospect, her vocation in life was apparent at an early age. During her grade school years there were multiple times her teachers shared moments with us of her kindness to other students, especially those who were being left out or teased. In a high school paper she wrote about interest in a career helping troubled youth with love and compassion to assist them through stressful times. She said it was a way to love others and to love God through others.

Janelle loved music of all genres, playing sports, and running; but loved her nephews most of all. One of her lifetime joys was a softball team that was formed in her grade school years with girls from seven different schools. Before the first season Janelle said she didn’t want to be on the team because she didn’t know them. However, after that team's first end-of-season picnic she and some other teammates were emotional because they wouldn’t see each other until the next season. The team lasted ten years and lifetime bonds were formed. Janelle loved running, but not the timed events. She just enjoyed the run, the freedom and the release. One summer day she ran her first 26.2 just to see if she could.

Janelle earned a Bachelors Degree from Kansas State University, a Masters Degree in social work from University of Kansas and was a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in both Kansas and Missouri. Beyond her academic achievements was her unique ability to be present for the needs of others, a relentless pursuit of finding good in this world, and her wholehearted conviction. 

Some of her career positions where she used her educational training were Our Lady’s Montessori school, a pediatric care practice, a county mental health center and several school districts. She also volunteered for Girls On the Run International and KyMel, a summer camp for kids with cancer. Janelle loved spending time with Jillian, her goddaughter and cousin.

She was preceded in death by grandparents Paul and Dorothy Hilger and Dorothy Segat. She is survived by her parents, brother Dan Hilger of Overland Park, sister Laurel Hilger Sharpe, brother in law in law Steve Sharpe, nephews Samson Paulo, Solomon José and Simon Peter of Winchester VA, and lastly her beloved pups, Nelly & Rodgers. 

Janelle loved that her Grandmother Hilger referred to her grandchildren as sugarplums. In her first Facebook blog, January 2012 she quoted “I expect to pass through this world but once. Therefore any good that I can do or any kindness or abilities that I can share with my fellow creatures, let me do it now. Let me not defer it or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”

Janelle will be missed beyond measure. Eternal rest grant unto her O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her. May her soul, and all the souls of the faithfully departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. 

A Rosary will be prayed at 4:00 PM followed by a visitation until 6:00 PM, Monday at the Porter Funeral Home, 8535 Monrovia St., Lenexa, KS.  Funeral Mass will be 11:00 AM Tuesday, May 14, at Holy Cross Catholic Church, 8311 West 93rd Street, Overland Park, KS.  In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Janelle’s memory to Holy Cross Catholic School, 8101 W. 95th St. Overland Park, KS 66212 or Our Lady’s Montessori School, 5809 Michigan Ave. Kansas City, MO 64130. 

Janelle requested a party, and celebration with live music. We would like to invite all family and friends to join us on Sunday, May 19th at Kauffman stadium for the Royals vs. A’s baseball game. Janelle had countless memories with family and friends at the ballpark.  Tailgate will begin at 10am, and located in the back of General Parking C, look for the purple flag, game time is 1:10pm.



Hillary Carter May 08, 2024

Friend ,Leawood ,Kansas

Janelle was such a bright light in this world and she will be so greatly missed. I’m sorry to the family for your pain and sadness during this time and you are all in my thoughts and prayers.

Patty Jordan May 08, 2024

friend of family ,SHAWNEE ,Kansas

Oh my...the sadness I feel is...there are no words. Oh sweet Janelle...bless your heart and soul. And bless your hearts, Nick and Sharon...can't image. Your face, Janelle is my heart as I write...and I smile as I think of you. YOu are loved loved loved by so many. Go be with Jesus...with Him, there is no more pain, no more tears. My prayers for the entire Hilger family. You are all loved. God bless you

Courtney Saye May 08, 2024

Friend ,Westlake Village ,California

Janelle was our son’s preschool teacher at OLMS and she and her sister both touched our lives in ways that will last a lifetime. Mom & Dad Hilger - you did so so good. Janelle was always filled with energy, light, and positivity that was infectious. Her love for children and the work was palatable. We are sending prayers for comfort and peace to the entire family and all who loved her. May God be with you in the days to come.

Carol Yorke May 08, 2024

Friend-counselor at STA ,Overland Park ,Kansas

John and I send our love and prayers to Nick and Sharon and Laurel and Dan as you mourn the loss of the physical presence of Janelle. She is always with you! She is in the sunlight and the starlight- the wind and the rain. She is in your heart. May her memories bring you joy!

Jen Swindle May 08, 2024

Friend ,Dallas ,Texas

I met Janelle on a vacation to Costa Rica. We started chatting and became fast friends when we took a tour to a volcano, later we spent time shopping together and have kept in touch over Facebook even though we never physically saw each other again. I am so sad to hear about her passing and will be praying comfort over your family!

Emma May 08, 2024

High school friend

Thinking of Janelle’s family during this time. Janelle was always so kind, so exuberant and happy and truly was the epitome of optimism and living life to the fullest. I am grateful for the time I shared with her as a classmate and teammate in high school and so glad I got to see her again several times over the past few years. She will be missed by so many.

Lou and Joyce Hilger May 08, 2024

Uncle and Aunt ,Elizabeth city ,North Carolina

I'm so sorry we won't be joining you for the celebration. We can't begin to express our feelings about your loss. On the other side of that coin, how much Janelle means to us and the joy we have had watching her grow and thrive as a vibrant woman. Like Dad, Mom and Jane she will always be in our hearts. Love to all.

Gloria Collier May 08, 2024

Camp Hope ,Hoisington ,Kansas

God bless all her family and friends during this sad time My prayers are with you all

Jo Ann O’Brien May 08, 2024

3rd grade teacher of Janelle ,Overland Park ,Kansas

Many prayers for Janelle’s family. God bless you, Janelle, as you fought the good fight. I remember your kindness and care of others. You were full of sweetness and those around you were blessed to have you in their lives. I was blessed to be your teacher 30 years ago in 3rd grade. Rest easy, Good & Faithful Servant!

Chelsea Slaven-Davis May 08, 2024

High School Friend ,Portland ,Oregon

I will always remember Janelle’s big joy for being alive. The energy she brought into a room was palpable — and infectious. She will be so missed.

Lynn Kaufman’ May 08, 2024

Social worker advisor at kvc behavioral health ,Kansas City kansas ,Kansas

I was privileged to have beautiful Janelle for a student for her practicum in the graduate program at university of kansas school of social welfare.. She was a dedicated student and worked very hard with children and families. who benefitted from her kind understanding.and caring. I send my condolences for a great loss of a beautiful person. Lynn

Stephen and Jennifer Connelly May 09, 2024

Friends of family ,Kansas City ,Missouri

Requiem aeternam dona ei Domine. Et lux perpetua luceat ei. Requiescat in pace. Amen.

Keith Johnson May 09, 2024

Friend ,Mission ,Kansas

Coach Nick and Sharon, I have fond memories of watching the girls playing softball together. Janelle was always the motivator that kept those girls playing their hearts out. It was always fun to watch the interaction between her and her dad as the coach.  My wife, Denise would say, "Boy, I bet she's a handful".   Then she'd smile and say, " A beautiful handful, indeed".  As you welcomed our daughter, Heidi onto your softball team back then, rest assured that Denise is welcoming Janelle with open arms up there.

Ann Seely May 09, 2024

Friend ,Kansas City ,Missouri

Janelle was one of a kind, her kindness and knowledge of children was amazing. In her recents years I love she got to travel and live her best life free and beautiful. I will always think of her when traveling the earth and keep her memory alive. Love and prayers to her family

Jaclyn May 09, 2024

My deepest sympathy goes out to Janelle's family and friends. We were all beyond blessed to know her. Her smile was so infectious. I'm proud to say that I was able to work alongside her.

Bob and Elisa Fernholz May 09, 2024

Friends in Christ ,Overland Park ,Kansas

We send our deepest condolences for the loss of your daughter. There are no words to ease your grief except to focus on the Salvation through Our Risen Lord and know of your being with Janelle again. Blessings and prayers for all.

Shelly Flinn May 09, 2024

Friend ,Shalimar ,Florida

I worked with Janelle in the toddler classroom at OLMS when I was discerning the religious life with SOLT in 2009-2010. She was a joy to work with and know. We visited her at the school when she was running it in 2013. We are so saddened by this loss and the family will be in our family prayers. May the perpetual light shine upon her! God bless

Dave Peterson May 09, 2024

Friend ,Shawnee ,Kansas

I just want to express my sincere condolences to the Hilger family. I met Janelle at Camp KyMel, formerly Camp Hope back in 2017. I volunteered in 2017 and '18, when she was camp counselor. I knew from the moment I met her, there was just something different about Janelle. She was just a ray of sunshine and a pleasure to be around. God really must've needed another angel because it doesn't seem right that she's gone. A few years ago, I was in disbelief when hearing she'd been diagnosed. She was a fighter and made every day count, it seemed. A true inspiration! She was a special one and will be missed by many! Although, you already knew that.

Brooke Balestrieri May 10, 2024

When I think of Janelle, I think of kindness, joy, laughter, and a breath of fresh air! I will always remember sitting next to her in sophomore English, and how she made that class so enjoyable! We were teammates on the basketball court- I will always remember how she seemed to float across the court with a huge smile on her face! She will be greatly missed! Prayers for peace and healing to you all! She left a legacy of love during her short time on earth!

Elizabeth Musil May 10, 2024

Hilger family, I was so sorry to hear of Janelle’s passing. I have the fondest memories playing with her and Laurel as a child and wanting to be just like them! Sending many prayers and much love your way.

Sandra Morales May 10, 2024

REVELATION 21:4 "AND HE WILL WIPE OUT EVERY TEAR FROM THEIR EYES, AND DEATH WILL BE NO MORE, NEITHER WILL MOURNING NOR OUTCRY NOR PAIN BE ANYMORE. THE FORMER THINGS HAVE PASSED AWAY". I hope this beautiful promise of God to resurrect the dead here on earth fill your hearts with comfort and peace, soon we'll hug them again.

Julie K Bilyea May 11, 2024

Dear Nick, I'm so sorry for the loss of your daughter. My family and I will pray for your family. Please accept my condolences. Julie Bilyea

Michael Johnson May 13, 2024

Dear Nick and Sharon, I'm so sorry for the loss of your daughter. I and Lissy will pray for your family. Please accept our condolences. Michael and Lissy

Kenny Massey May 14, 2024

Past co-worker ,Eudora ,Kansas

Janelle was one of the best co-workers I have ever been associated with. Her knowledge base and passion for her job and those she served was unmatched. After Janelle left our employer we continued to stay in touch while meeting over “coffee” from time to time. Janelle will be missed but I will always have very fond memories of our working relationship.

Natalie Heins Corbett May 17, 2024

Neighbor ,Cary ,North Carolina

I knew Janelle as a cute little brunette running around our cul-de-sac in pink jellies. The Hilgers were the first family to trust me as their babysitter, probably because my parents were just a few doors down. The kids and I had a lot of fun together. Janelle always had the biggest smile and sweetest laugh. What a tragedy to lose such a bright light so young. She made such a huge impact in her brief life and focused on what was most important. I cannot imagine the pain her family must be going through. Sending so many hugs, thoughts, and prayers to the precious Hilger family.

Lauren Gates May 18, 2024

Classmate at STA ,Houston ,Texas

Janelle’s positive energy was so contagious. She always had a smile and was genuinely concerned about how you were doing. Her time here was too short but I am so glad that I was able to get to know her during our time at Aquinas. She will be missed!


Porter Funeral Home
8535 Monrovia
Zip Code:
May 13, 2024
4:00 PM
Google Map:
Funeral Mass
Holy Cross Catholic Church
9311 West 93rd Street
Overland Park
Zip Code:
May 14, 2024
11:00 AM
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