Many of our membership remember Janet as our newsletter maven. The one individual who would work on the newsletter when no one else would. That’s only a small part of her. She was bright, witty, charitable, and a hard worker. Most people don’t know she had a Masters Degree in English, and more than one certificate in American Sign Language. A supervising attorney told me that she cite checked all his briefs, “she was ruthless” about it. “I don’t care how busy she was, she would stop and do a cite check and I would get a better brief from it.”
I remember her as always having time to have a cup of tea and conversation about the latest book she had read. The story Janet often told of herself was as a bus rider in the city, she would read at the bus stop while waiting. But she would become so engrossed in what she was reading that the bus would come and go with her still sitting on the bench reading. True crime and fantasy were favorites and she believed in the adage, “Too many books, too little time.”
Janet liked oriental philosophy and all things Asian, especially Chinese. She studied Tai Chi for a number of years. At her memorial service there was a picture of Janet standing in a typical Tai Chi pose, dressed in a red robe with a sword over her head. One of her colleagues at the Attorney General’s office told me that Janet brought the sword to the office “. . . and the entire office surrendered!”
Janet’s love for animals was a wonderful topic of conversation. She donated both time and money (both of which were in short supply) to animal rescue organizations. She always kept a leash in her car so she could rescue an animal by the side of the road. In one instance (although I would not be surprised to know it happened more than once) she found a dog on the way to work. So she stopped, put it in the car and took him with her. All day long the dog was hidden at the office until she could get him to a shelter!
Education was important to Janet. She believed we always were in a state learning, both within ourselves and within the universe. she so enjoyed her legal career that she studied for and obtained her CLA. Because of ailing health issues, it took her a little longer to become certified. The night before her final test, she had had a diabetic problem, but got up and, still shaking, was driven to the exam, took it and passed. In 2004 she was the CLA chairperson and organizer of a study group. Those students lost a fine teacher.
Janet wanted no funeral service as she was afraid no one would come. Her memorial service proved her wrong. I would guess over 50 people stopped by and her paralegal friends were out in great numbers.
Many remember her from her years at McGuireWoods, or involvement with Commonwealth College, the Office of the Attorney General, or just as a member of RALA. Whatever your memories, hold them tight. When we next see her she will have wonderful stories to tell about her new adventures and they will be about animals, books and new friends.
Janet – we are going to miss you girlfriend!
~ Ginny Butler, 2004 Past President (March 1, 2004)