Brattleboro, VT – Janette Joan DeWalt was born on 6/30/1937, she was the middle child of Depression-Era parents in Rhinelander WI. Her rural upbringing to self-sufficient, non-nonsense parents instilled in her a love of nature, a can-do attitude, a fierce independence, resourcefulness, and a love of the outdoors. Here, she developed a work ethic and resilience that could rival any.
In 1962 she left WI, and shortly after married Bob Neubauer. They moved to Long Island, NY, and over the next 10 years she gave birth to their children Lisa, Kara, and Paul. Janette was a devoted wife and mother. The years on Long Island involved a strong connection to St. James Lutheran Church, the beach, and family. Times were lean, and busy, but social. The working-class neighborhoods she called home there were founded on a fairness and optimism that is tougher to find these days. Making time to be with friends was a priority then, and would continue to be so throughout her life.
In 1978 the family moved to Meetinghouse Lane in Brattleboro, where Janette would live out her life. Janette’s life revolved around her kids, particularly after her divorce from Bob in 1982. Enabling them to pursue their interests and dreams drove her day-to-day life for the years to come. Doing so included instilling in them a love of the outdoors, animals and demonstrating her tremendous work ethic. Over the next 35 years Janette would work for a wide collection of Brattleboro businesses, learning new skills and becoming invaluable to a multitude of organizations including Community College of VT, Follow Through, Brattleboro Subaru and Brattleboro Chrysler, Cersosimo Lumber, Basketville, Cellular One. She also served as a mediator and Justice of the Peace.
Janette was able to see all of her children happily married to people who she came to love and whose company she enjoyed immensely. These unions gave her perhaps the greatest joy of her life: her grandkids. As much as she put into the lives of her children, she matched that love again for her grandkids. She made true and sustained efforts to know each of her grandkids as the individuals they are, and created unique and lasting memories and bonds with each of them.
Though always up for adventure and quick to laugh, Janette had a strong moral compass and instilled in all of her children and grandkids a clear and unwavering commitment to loyalty, honesty, hard work, fair play, and generosity. Such concepts can be taught through words, but like most things, they are better exemplified through deeds, as she did. Janette demonstrated that communities are strong because of those who give. She dedicated many hours over many years to Diversion Board, Welcome Baby, Sunrise Rotary, and Putney Road beautification, but also to her neighbors, friends, and any community cause that she could help to do good. This included weaving plastic sleeping mats for Brattleboro’s homeless population.
Her friendships were very important to her and she nurtured and protected them fiercely. She loved to laugh and had the ability to laugh at herself. She was a voracious reader, an avid gardener, storyteller, artist, greeting card maker, card shark, game player and loved word games. She filled her home with art; pottery, famed Vermont artists’ works, her Grandchildren’s artwork and precious gifts from friends and family.
She believed and demonstrated that true happiness is not based on possessions, power or prestige – but rather on relationships with people you love and respect. She left this world with dignity and grace, telling us, “life is good” as she always looked for the silver lining.
Janette touched countless lives through her work, volunteerism, friendships, kids, and grandkids. Her family and community were made better for the life that she lived. She will be sorely missed.
Janette is survived by her daughters Lisa (Chris) Pratt of Groveland MA, Kara (Kevin) Deir of Charlotte, NC, son Paul Neubauer (Clarissa Werre) of Bozeman MT, and her beloved grandchildren Casey and Teagan Pratt, Connor and Caroline Deir, and Rory Neubauer.
A special thank you for the loving care provided by the Brattleboro Memorial Oncology staff, Brattleboro Area Hospice and Bayada.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Brattleboro Area Hospice at 191 Canal Street, Brattleboro, VT 05301, or Trinity Lutheran Church, 161 Western Avenue, Brattleboro, Vermont 05301.
Her celebration of life will be held at Trinity Lutheran Church in the spring, Janette’s favorite time of year.
To send flowers to the family of Janette, please visit our floral store.