At 91-years-old, Nora Martin Janik – then known as Nora Lou — seems to have barely slowed down from her fast paced Hollywood life in the 1940s.
She has been sharing her fairy tale story and songs at local venues the past year, raising funds for an education scholarship fund through Philanthropic Educational Organization International, an organization that assists women.
At an October event at Tanner Spring Assisted Living center, she raised $ 60 for P.E.O. In the past year and a half, the Nora Martin events have raised almost $ 4000 for P.E.O, said Barb Marold, who attends Willamette Christian Church in West Linn and has helped organize fundraising speaking engagements for Janik.
Why is education important to Janik? After all, she didn’t finish high school.
“While I was a senior, I was touring for Golden West Coffee, where my picture was on the can, and the principal (at my high school) wouldn’t let me hand in my work late, so I dropped out.”
“I believe in education. I want to help women,” said Janik, whose two sons attended Harvard.
In addition to her reaching out to help women get educations, she has made a difference in the lives of women affected by breast cancer. She is a survivor.
Janik helped start American Cancer Society’s Reach to Recovery program that supports breast cancer survivors.
But it was Janik’s love of music- especially yodeling — that overjoyed residents of Tanner Spring.
In addition to singing for entertaining, Janik used her voice for other good causes. During World War II, she helped raise millions of dollars in War Bonds.
She also encouraged a young soldier in a hospital who didn’t want to live anymore.
“He was barely 18, and I told him he has his whole life ahead of him,” Janik shared.
Later, she received a letter from that same young man, dated 1945, which included his Purple Heart.
“I want to find him — his name is Eddie Curran– and he was on the USS Enterprise,” she added. “I want to return his Purple Heart to him.”