The Value of Life is What You Give Away…Even if it’s a Ladybug

The Value of Life is What You Give Away…Even if it’s a Ladybug

For nearly four decades, Janelle and Bill Clarke have been a beacon of generosity and the embodiment of unwavering support for the Jessup mission. Years ago, Bill was known to spend weekends helping former Jessup President Bryce Jessup with various maintenance and repair projects around San Jose Bible College. The couple were longtime attendees of Jessup church partner, Central Christian Church, also in San Jose.

Over the years, the Clarke’s generosity continues to empower generations of Jessup students, providing them the opportunity to pursue an education deeply rooted in Christian values. The couple’s belief in the power of Christian higher education to transform lives allows Jessup to continue shaping future leaders who are grounded in faith and wisdom. The pair also became members of the Stilgebouer Legacy Society, established in 2018 to recognize and honor legacy-minded individuals who have made a charitable deferred gift to Jessup University. 

Nearly four years ago, Bill went home to be with the Lord but that didn’t hinder Janelle from holding steady to their mission. In fact, she stepped up to continue one aspect of the work Bill started years earlier. During the later years of his life, Bill began what some might consider an unusual outreach project that involved painting the surfaces of flat stones to resemble ladybugs. “Bill taught me how to paint them, and for the past 20 years, I’ve been painting them as well.” When Bill passed on, Janelle decided to keep painting the ladybug stones in his honor. She is credited with having painted at least 1,000 ladybug stones. 

Her small but mighty works of art provide a beacon of hope and inspiration for those who come in contact with the colorful painted insects. “Most of the time, people will smile and say, ‘Oh, they are so cute,'” she said. “I just love how they bring a smile to everyone’s face when they see them.”  

Around campus, especially in the Advancement office, Clarke is known as the ladybug lady. “Janelle stops by a few times every year,” said Advancement Gift Officer, Ed Kaczmarek. “She rarely comes to our office empty-handed. Whether she’s bringing candy, hand-harvested walnuts or more ladybugs, she is dear to us and we enjoy spending time with her.” 

Campus visitors can find the ladybug-inspired rocks strategically placed all throughout planters on the Rocklin campus. Most often, ladybugs symbolize spiritual guidance, abundance and protection and are often associated with positivity, a trait that emanates from the core of Clarke’s being. “I just want to bring joy to others,” she said. 

“I keep asking the Lord to provide me with ways to be more generous and share the wealth He has so graciously given me,” she told a group of staff and students gathering around the Warrior Rock that was painted a day earlier in her honor to reflect her infamous ladybug stones. “Over the years, I’ve learned that you can’t ever outgive the Lord,” she said. There is no doubt that the Clarke’s generosity has created a ripple effect, touching the lives of countless students and alumni as they enrich the Jessup community and the kingdom, all for His glory.