Janice Roberta Gibson Cloud
1937 - 2016
A full life. A colorful life. A beautiful life.
Jan died of ovarian cancer February 23, surrounded by her family and beloved cat, Wally. Up until a week before her passing, she was able to enjoy her favorite activities – her genealogy study group and lunch with her former students at IHOP.
Jan was born in St. Joseph, MO on March 16, 1937 to Hazel and Elwyn Gibson. Raised in Arkansas and Missouri, she attended Central High (Little Rock, AK) and graduated from Joplin High in 1956. Jan attended the University of Oklahoma, was a member of Alpha Gamma Delta Sorority, and studied voice with opera singer Dame Eva Turner. Since Music was not a practical degree for a woman at that time, she received her Bachelor of Arts in Education in 1959.
Jan found her way to California through a teaching job at a junior high in Riverside but soon realized that teaching children was not the profession for her. Fortunately for all of us, Jan headed north to Santa Barbara where she studied with Lotte Lehmann at the Music Academy of the West. Jan continued singing with the local Opera Workshop and performed in many operas over the years as well as teaching voice, both privately and at Westmont College.
In 1962 Jan married William Edmund Deluccia. During her marriage to Bill (d. 1993) Jan experienced life as not many do. It was passionate, exciting, and never dull. Jan was resourceful. She cooked salmon in the dishwasher, served escargot with snails from her garden, cooked – and yes – ate crow after Bill shot it off the power line (there is very little meat on a crow, she said), and she cooked a pot roast on the manifold of her car on one of the many cross-country road trips. Adventurous, practical, clever. That was Jan.
In 1972 Jan married Preston E. Cloud, Jr. (d. 1991). This began a new adventure that took her around the world with Pres’ career as a distinguished biogeologist. It also took her to places like the High Sierras with a 40-pound pack on her back, cooking over a fire pit and sleeping under the stars before there was such a thing as a comfortable air mattress. Through her travels with Pres she experienced the highlight of her singing career in 1980 when she gave recitals in Beijing and Nanjing, China. Jan was the first American singer to give such a recital in Nanjing and was very proud that her repertoire included songs in six different languages, including Russian and Chinese!
Jan enjoyed the connection to the scientific community through Pres, always eager to attend meetings of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Philosophical Society. She had a thirst for knowledge, which led her into her ultimate profession and passion, genealogy. She was known to exclaim, “It’s worse than dope!” "It’s the greatest detective game!” “It’s so much more fun than doing housework!”
Jan was a leader, teacher, and mentor. She had a loyal following of genealogy students who attended her classes through SBCC’s Adult Education program, a career that spanned over 20 years. As friends have remarked, “Jan was an amazing person, a serious scholar of genealogy and a teacher who inspired rooms full of acolytes.” “Her passion for genealogy was sooo infectious!” And as another friend mused, “I take away a lot of what was shared in her classes, but honestly, one of the lasting legacies she imparted to me was the friendships that were made and still exist because of her class; most of us began as strangers, but that didn’t last long.”
Hand in hand with her teaching came her fierce love of and commitment to the Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society. Jan’s perseverance, visionary thinking and determination helped to create one of the strongest and most respected genealogical societies in California. For anyone who knew Jan, she was a force to be reckoned with and known for her persuasiveness. “Who can say no to Jan?!” Her deep knowledge of all aspects of genealogy, her perfectionism, her hilarious sense of humor, and her delightful stories earned her the respect and love of all who knew her.
Jan leaves a lasting legacy and passes her bright torch to her family: Sons Morgan De Lucia and Dante De Lucia (Ana Ojeda), daughter Amanda De Lucia (Viena Zeitler); step-children Lisa Cloud (Conor Hickey), Kevin Cloud, and Karen Cloud; grandchildren Nico, Julianna, Sofia, and Daniela De Lucia, Conor, Fiona, and Molly Hickey; dogs Rudy, Piccolo and Rosie; and her beloved cat, Wally.
Donations in Jan’s memory can be made to Dog Adoption and Welfare Group (DAWG), Animal Shelter Assistance Program (ASAP), and the Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society.
At Jan’s request, we will be having a party to celebrate her life Sunday, March 13, 3-5pm, at Rancho La Patera & Stow House, 304 N. Los Carneros Road, Goleta, CA.