Cover photo for Janet May Westers's Obituary
1928 Janet 2024

Janet May Westers

December 23, 1928 — May 14, 2024

Syracuse

Janet May Westers, 95, passed away on May 14, 2024 at The Nottingham Independent Living Community in Jamesville, New York. She was the beloved mother, grandmother and great grandmother of her five children Philip, Rebekah, Alice, Stephen and John; her seven grandchildren Corrine, Justin, David, Benjamin, Lena, Michael and Joshua; and her six great grandchildren Finnley, Roane, Rhysand, Lailoken, Nico and Kira.  She was also loved by her seven nieces and nephews: Carol, Sherrie, Bill, Mike, Betsy, Cindy and Tina.  Janet was married for 27 years to her devoted husband, Frank Westers, who passed away in 2016.  

Janet was born on December 23, 1928 in Cincinnati, Ohio and was third daughter of Iona and William Jennings Stewart.  Growing up in Cincinnati with her older sisters Ruth and Mary, she was a good student and developed into such a beautiful young lady that a teenage photo of her in a bathing suit became widely viewed by GIs during World War Two.  After graduating from Withrow High School in 1947, Janet earned her degree as a registered nurse in 1950 from Cincinnati’s Christ Hospital and then worked for a year in the hospital’s operating room.  In 1952 she married Harvey Bates and the couple moved to New York City, where Janet worked as a nurse at the Columbia University Student Infirmary while her husband earned his divinity degree at Union Seminary.   Though the couple moved repeatedly and their family quickly grew in size, Janet still managed to help support her family by taking on periodic nursing positions. During the couple’s six year stay in Orono, Maine, Janet worked evenings at Eastern Maine General Hospital and Osteopathic Hospital of Bangor.  When her family moved to upstate New York in 1964, Janet soon began a distinguished nursing career at Planned Parenthood, where she contributed to ground-breaking family planning services at clinics in Syracuse and Albany.  In recognition of her many accomplishments at Planned Parenthood, she was awarded the prestigious Ellen Fairchild Award in 1990.  Throughout her demanding nursing career, Janet remained a caring and supportive mother of her five children, despite the added challenge of becoming a single parent in 1973.  Somehow she always found time to bake delicious treats of cookies, cakes, pies and breads for her family and friends. To help make ends meet, she also sewed clothing and drapes, and refinished old furniture.

Janet enjoyed her well earned retirement years with her husband Frank, whom she married in 1989.  They met on the dance floor and loved a variety of dance styles, often putting on quite a performance and even winning contests.  They liked many group activities too, including golf and card games.  Janet and Frank split their years between winters in Venice, Florida and summers in North Syracuse, New York.  They traveled extensively in Western Europe, took Caribbean cruises, explored the western United States and frequently visited the coast of Maine.

Janet had a remarkable ability to develop and maintain lasting friendships.  Her socially active lifestyle continued to her final years at The Nottingham, where she participated in many community activities. Janet was highly considerate of family and friends, always remembering birthdays, special events, relationships, and gifts.  Until her final days her memory of people and past events was extraordinary. Janet was the center of family gatherings, but her tendency to close her china-doll eyes during family photos often frustrated photographers. Whenever her family and friends lift a pottery mug to their lips, they will think of her enduring love and generosity, as well as her insatiable passion for pottery. 

Donations in Janet's memory can be made to one of the folllowing charities Planned Parenthood of Central and Western New York, Inc. -  plannedparenthood.org . National Park Foundation - give.nationalparks.org   The Southern Poverty Law Center - support.splcenter.org


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