A memorial service will be held Tuesday, Dec. 13, for Janice W. Candell, 84, of Philadelphia, a housewife who hated housework and later a single mom who vowed to keep her brood of four together despite all odds.

Mrs. Candell and her husband, Alan, separated in 1960, and he died six years later. The key to the family's survival was work, and she took any and all jobs she could get.

"At this time of year in 1968, I would have been at the toy department at Wanamakers while my mom was cashiering. She was able to get away with bringing me to work, as I would help sell toys to parents who were Christmas shopping," said son William.

In addition to the John Wanamaker toy department, she was employed as an administrative assistant by the American Red Cross, Franklin Institute, Drexel University, Research for Better Schools, Daroff Design, and First Union Bank, later Wachovia Bank. In 1967, she moved into a fixer-upper in Brewerytown, and it pretty much remained that way, her son said, after a contractor took her money but didn't finish the renovations.

Born in St. Joseph, Mo., and reared in neighboring Greenfield, she had an idyllic early childhood.

She told of riding the family gelding and helping her mother, Mary Ellen Whaley, Greenfield's first librarian, to catalog and shelve books.

Everything changed, though, when Mrs. Candell was 13. Her mother died of a brain tumor. Her father, William, remarried and moved the family to Midland, Mich. Mrs. Candell had trouble adjusting. After graduating from Midland High School, she enrolled in nursing school at Philadelphia College of Osteopathy.

In 1953, she married.

"In those days, you just didn't let on that you were married or you could be tossed out of nursing school," her son said. "That was working fine until my oldest brother, Michael, started making his impending presence known."

Ejected from nursing school, Mrs. Candell turned her attention to working full time while rearing four children. Her first child, Susan, had been born while Mrs. Candell was in Michigan and was put up for adoption.

"Janice was bound and determined to keep us kids together 'come hell or high water.' She did just that," her son said. "The work ethic I learned from her has been perhaps the greatest gift she left me."

She was known for her love of books, animals, gardening, and knitting, her knowledge of many topics, and her skill as a conversationalist.

"She had strong opinions on politics, economics, and just about everything," her son said. "She hated housework and would rather read a book or talk. Her lifelong love of horses kept her a country girl at heart in Philadelphia for 65 years."

Besides her son and daughter, to whom she talked before she died, Mrs. Candell is survived by children Michael, Patricia, and Abraham; 12 grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren.

Mrs. Candell died Monday, Sept. 5, of pneumonia at Hahnemann University Hospital, but family members decided not to make her death known until they carried out her wish - she wanted her body donated to Science Care for medical research. Her ashes will be interred later in the family plot in Missouri.

The memorial service will be held at 6 p.m. at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1682 Wood St. Mourners are asked to enter from 17th Street near Vine Street.

Donations may be made to New Jersey Nature, 2353 Delsea Dr., Delmont, N.J. 08314. It is a wildlife rehabilitation center.

610-313-8102