“Kushi” was not Janice Sandra Jones’ real name. But in some ways, it was truer to her personality than the name on her passport. Kushi was a nickname given to her by an Indian friend. It means “happiness” in Hindi, but is often used in the Indian Christian community to mean “joy.”
Kushi, who died Feb. 21 after a heart attack, shone joy into the lives of California Baptist University students, faculty and staff during her years of service to the school.
Heather Hubbert, assistant dean of students for Assessment and Student Conduct, was close friends with Kushi for 10 years.
“She invested in me from day one,” Hubbert said. “She was with me for my engagement, marriage, kids. … We walked through life together.”
On Feb. 26, a memorial service was held to celebrate the life of Kushi at Mt. Rubidoux Seventh Day Adventist Church in Riverside.
Family, friends and those whose lives were touched by Kushi gathered in community to honor her and her accomplishments. A slideshow and video montage of pictures were featured during the memorial service as friends and family spoke about the impact Kushi left on them and the world.
Kushi was born in Burbank, California, on April 20 and attended University of California, Santa Barbara, where she made the decision to become a Christian.
After receiving her bachelor’s degree in theology, she became the office manager at Victoria Community Church in Riverside. She joined the choir at the church and sang in small groups, while also involving herself in youth ministry, Bible studies and musicals.
In 2008, she earned her master’s degree in counseling ministry from CBU.
For 18 years, Kushi served as the director of Career Services at CBU.
“She was really the founder of the Career Center,” said Mike Bishop, senior director of the Career Center. Bishop took over the position after Kushi retired in July 2014. “She tried to align her vision with the university’s vision. She wanted each student to find their purpose in what they were going to do.”
Kushi joked that she got her nickname because of her dedication to getting students “cushy” jobs after graduation.
Her life and actions exemplified her care for CBU’s students and their success.
Chelsea Royse, associate director of the Career Center, worked with Kushi as a graduate assistant before joining the Career Services staff full time.
“Kushi did with me what she does with students, even though I wasn’t a student at the time. She was really concerned with my success, and so while I was a GA for her, she brought me in on a lot of things, and always asked for my input and asked me to be involved in as much as I could with the Career Center,” Royse said. “She believed in me, and that gave me confidence. And I think that is something that is very special about Kushi.”
During her time at CBU, Kushi participated in 15 International Service Projects serving in eight countries and one U.S. Project in Alaska.
Kristen White, director of Global Mobilization, gave the first eulogy at Kushi’s memorial to speak about her friend and the many places Kushi traveled to around the world to share the Word of God.
“It is one of the greatest honors of my life to have been able to pay tribute to Kushi at her memorial service,” White said.
In her eulogy, White honored Kushi’s years of service with the Mobilization team.
“Kushi was definitely our biggest cheerleader in ISP,” White said in her eulogy. “Always supportive, she instilled confidence in our leadership, faithfully praying for us with boldness.”
White said Kushi’s presence and encouragement when White first came to CBU in 2005 helped smooth her transition to campus.
“She was the queen-maker, if you will,” White said.
During Intensive Training Weekend for MOB teams, students are placed in a simulation country called Ispland, ruled by Queen Kristen White herself. White said Kushi coined the phrase, “Peace be upon the queen.”
“Kushi’s really the one who embraced that and took it to where it is,” White said. “Every fiber of her being taught that, and she exemplified that to others.”
Following White, Kris Smith, administrative assistant for the vice president of enrollment and student services and a friend of Kushi’s, presented the second eulogy.
“Over the last days, I have heard students and staff who attribute the wisdom, affirmation and encouragement that Kushi gave them to be a pivotal moment in their life journey,” Smith said in her eulogy to Kushi.
“Kushi’s words were life-giving words that could only come from the power of the Holy Spirit working in her.”
Eddie Jones, Kushi’s husband, spoke about his wife and the impact she made on his and others’ lives, including the impact she will continue to make; Kushi was an organ donor and will save 50 lives.
Kushi is survived by her husband, Eddie; her mother, Marcelle Harden; her niece Diana Larsen and her husband Jim and their children Allie, Zack, Maddy and Nick; her brother-in-law Scott Rife; and her nephew Richard Steinhardt, his wife Brenin and their daughter Kirsten.