Remembrances of Janet
Ray, et al, July 26, 2014
Ray Cherry, Husband
Each of us was connected to Janet in a different way, for example, as a wife, a sister, a brother, a co-worker, neighbor, a student, a teacher, or just an acquaintance. Janet displayed a common thread throughout all of these connections: No matter what your relationship was with Janet, she was your friend. Not just any friend, but a true friend who deeply cared for you, and a generous friend who would freely share her knowledge, possessions, insight and all other resources at her disposal in any way that would benefit you. She was a friend who had a huge abundance of intellectual capabilities which she would bigheartedly apply in a way that would benefit you.
Today, 26 July 2014, we are saying farewell to a best friend. Her ashes will be scattered here, on her daffodil garden in West Virginia. In the spring, the flowers will bloom and we will remember how her gardening brought joy to the lives of everyone who visited her garden. Looking around at the trees and flowers, we are reminded of Janet’s exceptional mastery of gardening and landscaping. We will also remember the amazing degree to which she was competent in so many fields, including teaching, computer programming, music, linguistics, drawing and making a house into a comfortable home.
All of us will fondly remember Janet for as long as the sun shines on flowers. All of us say farewell to the fondest of friends. Below follows a few remarks sent via e-mail from Janet’s friends and family.
Goodbye my love.
Gregory Maschue, Brother
I am so sorry for your and the world's loss. She was my big sister,
always ready to share herself or teach something new. A
friend to all who knew her and a kind heart to animals. I remember
Janet teaching me that all life was important and she would not step an ant (if
it stayed where it belonged). When I release trapped insects and animals,
I always remember Janet teaching me that as a small boy (a tough task).
Now she has been set free...
Nancy Maschue Bushneck, Sister
MY SISTER JANET
by Nancy Maschue Bushneck
This photo is the way I want to remember my brilliant, nurturing, kind, nature-loving, dear sister Janet. Even as a child, Janet beat to her own drum. She was always more concerned with the entire world then her own personal needs. She was happy as long as her basic needs were met -- no need for make-up, fancy clothes, or other pretentious items. She was comfortable in her own skin, being her own person -- not who someone else thought she should be. She was always more interested in learning, music and the arts, being creative, challenging her mind, taking care of her dogs, and above all, planting and being around nature than most other undertakings.
She was a fabulous sister and aunt. My children always looked forward to Christmas to see what creative gifts Aunt Janet had sent in the always large package. It could be puzzles, challenging games, hidden pictures, or a unicycle! It was always something unexpected, intriguing, educational and fun!
As her sister, I regret that we lived so far apart, so could not see each other frequently. Luckily, we did manage to see each other at least once per year on our drive north to New York. Sadly, it wasn't enough. It would have been so much fun to have had her join our family for the holidays or for some time at our camp on Lake Ontario. But, due to her job, her dogs, and the last ten years, her declining health, it was not to be so. I was looking forward to her retirement in the hopes I could convince her to come see us, but by then her health was so fragile. It was a miracle that she was able to join me, our two brothers, and extended family for Aunt Sue's 100th birthday two years ago. That will always be a fond memory for me. I really appreciate the extraordinary effort she took to fly to Florida to join in that memorable event.
Janet was one special sister. I will always miss her.
My vision is of her bounding around the fluffy clouds with her beloved dog "Winter" at her side, stopping to enjoy the fragrances and to learn the names of each of the new heavenly blooms she encounters....
Christine Smith, Gardening Collaborator
Good morning Ray (not so sure it's good), something inside my gut told me to log on and check on Janet's status. I am so sorry for your loss! If you need anything please feel free to call <snip>. I know the days ahead are going to get harder for you, just remember you now have an Angel above watching over you (so please don't do anything stupid) :). I have been very blessed to have met the amazing Janet. Janet was an amazing hard working woman to say the least. I'm going to miss her quirky, witty self. She has touched me in so many ways. Through our times gardening she has opened my eyes to so much. We would talk for hours about anything and everything from plants, to religion, politics, and life’s purpose (still in question) and so on. I know in my heart that Janet has lived a full and blessed life, she always told me to live each and every day as if it were my last (I really need to do this a little more), after working 8-12 hour days she would come home, walk the dogs, maybe nibble on something and go out into the yard and work for hours in her sanctuary (as she often called it) many nights with flash lights etc. She did what she loved each and every day regardless of the pain and setbacks...she was a fighter and NEVER EVER would have given up! So... the only way I can gather some type of closure is that her fight here on earth is done. I believe her job here on earth is done and that God needed another Angel and he has gotten a feisty one today. I can't wait to see her in heaven wearing a beautiful hat and a beautiful bright sundress (she always said she loved them but they made her feel weird because of her stomach). Now she can wear it beautifully! Man, heaven is really going to have a beautiful garden now! Ray, I pray that you get through this and know that Janet always worried about when this day would come. She wants you to take care of yourself and wants you to spend more time on things that you love, she always stated that work was burning you out and she never knew if you would actually retire. I'm not sure what your plans are but please make sure you include some Ray time in each and every day, if not... Janet is going to come back and bop you in your head!
Bruce Glassford, Friend
My favorite memory of Janet was at one of your parties (2005?) with her walking on stilt shoes to give a tour of the garden, with such laughter over the clumsiness.
Jim Thomas, co-worker
I wanted to tell Janet that the Clivia Miniata plant that she gave me for my retirement 4 years ago had at long last bloomed (just as she said it would when it got pot-bound!) and that it was beautiful. I think it started blooming right around the time of her death…
Janet and I worked together for several years, starting in the mid-90s. She was a lovely person, always joyful and friendly.
John Gash, Friend
John made the tribute below at the gathering that immediately preceded the scattering of Janet’s ashes:
Janet was a gardener –
A sower of seeds,
and a cultivator of souls.
Janet saw a patch of dirt as a blank canvas, and her bag of flower seeds was her color palette. With a patch of earth, she would get on her hands and knees to pluck away the weeds and scrape away the surface debris to expose fertile soil. She would till the soil, and lovingly plant a tiny seed, envisioning the beautiful blossom that this would one day yield.
Janet tended her gardens as she tended all of nature that surrounded her. Meeting a new person to Janet was like finding that new patch of land. She was challenged to nurture her new relationship - to bring forth the beauty of its potential. I didn't see Janet as often as many of her friends, but I could sense that she was nurturing our friendship similar to the way she tended her gardens. She would start by pulling away the weeds of time and dusting off the masks we wear, so as to connect with the fertile soil of our souls. Along the way she would find the opportune moment to interject a seed of wisdom. She would close the conversation similar to the way she would gently bury a seed in the soil, and then she would bid farewell until we meet again, not just to admire the blossom of the prior seed, but more importantly to her, to seize upon a new opportunity to plant another - to grow the bond of friendship.
The gardens that Janet created and nurtured will live on far beyond her mortal being and her ashes that we spread. The souls that Janet touched and changed for the better will outlast even this garden, for her friendships are Janet's everlasting garden of life. We may take comfort in the faith that Janet's spirit lives on in us, and everyone she touched and influenced in her kind, caring, and giving way.
I am a better person for having the pleasure of knowing her, and calling her - friend.
A plaque from John & Shirley –