Mrs. Janet B. FigueroaJanuary 12, 1966 ~ August 27, 2017 (age 51)
A Life of Courage and Faith
Janet Bland Figueroa
January 12, 1966 - August 27, 2017
Wife, mother, daughter, sister. Janet Bland Figueroa epitomized the woman of faith. Born on a beautiful Southern California morning, John Bland Jr. and Ruth Bland welcomed their second daughter Janet on January 12, 1966. Two minutes later, they welcomed Janet’s twin sister Maria. Big sister Sharon exuberantly carried her wiggly baby sisters like dolls, proudly feeding them corn flakes on the floor, swinging them on the backyard swing set.
In 1970, the family moved to Columbia, MD. Always active, Janet enjoyed swimming, gymnastics, horseback riding, writing, and great friendships. A proud graduate of Wilde Lake High School’s Class of 1984, she attended Hampton University in Hampton, VA alongside her twin sister. Janet majored in English with an interest toward law; a gifted writer who approached every assignment with scholarly enthusiasm.
Graduation neared and Janet met the love of her life Joaquin Figueroa, a student at nearby Norfolk State University. After graduating Hampton University with honors in 1988, Janet and Joaquin married the following year on November 11, 1989. The newlyweds lived briefly in Providence, RI before setting roots in Janet’s beloved Columbia, MD. Their family quickly grew: daughter Elena born on August 12, 1995 and daughter Sofia born on February 28, 1997.
A successful marketing professional at a Washington, DC consultancy, Janet adeptly juggled motherhood, a busy travel schedule, and an active membership with the Baltimore Church of Christ. She and Joaquin eventually became lay leaders within their fellowship, devoting their lives to the teachings of Jesus Christ and weaving a love of God and His word into every aspect of their lives. In January of 2001, Janet sought medical treatment for bleeding that physicians would later identify as breast cancer. Stunned, but ever faithful, Janet received care at Georgetown’s Lombardi cancer center. Cancer free, Janet returned to her career and work within the community. In 2003, the Figueroas and Blands moved together to Orlando. Sadly, and with much more aggression, the cancer returned five years later.
Janet’s approach to life and to cancer were the same: open, faithful, courageous, unwavering. The scars that marked her body testified to her resolve: God was in control. In the hospital, she shared her love of Christ, his mercy and grace. Undergoing chemo, she texted friends and family. Love and concern guiding her words. Family meant everything to her. She devoted her life to her beloved Joaquin, Elena and Sofia. Together, the Figueroas and Janet’s parents shared a home. There, they fought cancer together as John and Ruth both endured their own private battles with the disease.
Cancer may have ended our Janet’s physical life in the early hours of August 27th, but as Janet’s favorite scripture reads, “Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” Janet Bland Figueroa is survived by her husband Joaquin, survived by daughters Elena Figueroa and Sofia Figueroa Lease, son in law Nathan Lease, parents John and Ruth Bland, sister Sharon Craig, twin sister Maria Roach, and an ever expanding family-in-marriage, nieces, nephews, cousins, and her beloved family-in-Christ. Her life and her death are a testament to the glory of God.