Janet Godwin
Saturday
13
January

Memorial Visiting

10:00 am - 11:00 am
Saturday, January 13, 2024
Messiah Lutheran Church
228 Ramapo Valley Road
Oakland, New Jersey, United States
Saturday
13
January

Memorial Service

11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Saturday, January 13, 2024
Messiah Lutheran Church
228 Ramapo Valley Road
Oakland, New Jersey, United States

Obituary of Janet Godwin

Please share a memory of Janet to include in a keepsake book for family and friends.

In the early dawn of the new year 2024, our beloved Janet Godwin entered heaven’s glory.  Janet was first generation American, as well as first born to Helen and Frank Mueller in June 1938 and grew up in Montclair, NJ.  

Janet met the love of her life and future husband, Gilbert Godwin at a very young age because her mom brought her to St. John’s Lutheran Church in Bloomfield, NJ. What an amazing story - their moms knew each other, and Gil was the only altar boy for years.  During their courtship, Gil risked getting in trouble while in the US Army for travelling outside the DC area to see his family, but especially his true love Janet.  They married in September 1960, a union which lasted nearly 60 years until Gilbert’s passing in 2020.  In 1962, they made their 1st home on a swampy lot overlooking a shallow puddle of a lake. It took some optimism to call it “Crystal Lake”, before it was transformed it into the picturesque spot it is now!

They loved their family deeply, and are survived by their daughter, Tina and husband Wayne Reese, who they treasured as their own, their son Brian and his first wife, Beth Allen - who gave them the incredible joy of being grandparents of Megan, David and Peter Godwin, and recently Janet welcomed Peter’s wife Haley (Bean) to our family.  Janet was blessed again in 2020 when her prayers were answered for another daughter that she gained in Bonita (Bonnie Small) Godwin, who married Brian in 2020.  Janet was predeceased by her parents, Frank and Helen, brother Martin Mueller, and brother-in-law, John Dufresne.  She is survived by her sister Linda Dufresne in Tampa, FL, as well as sister-in-law Anne Mueller of Wayne, NJ.  

Janet was a bright student and positive role model at school.  She graduated from Montclair High School and Katharine Gibbs business school.  Never afraid of hard work, she only had a few salaried jobs:   executive secretary at Hoffmann-La Roche (before kids) and much later for Coldwell Banker in their Human Resource department.  There, her manager valued her diligent work and dedication.  They usually carpooled and remained close friends throughout their lives.  

A busy mom raising her family, she still volunteered outside the home for Meals on Wheels, assembled Braille books, was a Chilton Hospital volunteer, and worked at the Center for Food Action in Mahwah with Gilbert, along with helping neighbors.  At her home church, Messiah Lutheran in Oakland, her faith was strengthened, which was the source of her active service.  There she also developed lasting friendships.  She began knitting sets of warm hats, scarves and mittens for children in Appalachia and inspired her friends to join her.  Through the years, this small group of busy knitters sent hundreds of warm hat sets.  Her spirit of volunteerism was recognized by the Women’s Club of Oakland-Franklin Lakes with the “Woman of the Year” award.   As long as we can remember Janet was a confident, capable woman, and could seemingly do anything needed: baking, fixing special family meals, ice-skating on the lake, and more.  

In their “golden years” together after retirement, they were very active, enjoying many wonderful trips with family, including Disney World, a European river cruise, and many visits to the Jersey shore.  When they reached their 50th wedding anniversary in 2010, Janet proclaimed “I don’t want a big party!!  Our best present is time together.”  So, all the kids, grandkids, and Linda & John from Tampa spent a fantastic week together in N. Wildwood, with lots of games, laughs, and of course ice cream.  

As Gilbert’s memory was failing, she realized they needed to move out of their beloved home on the lake.  Janet single-handedly took care of all the downsizing, packing, gifting so many things to local thrift stores from their home of 56 years.  In January 2017 they made the move to the Cedar Crest Community

in Pompton Plains, NJ.  God was always with them and gave them new wonderful friends and neighbors that looked out for each other.  When she couldn’t drive any more, Janet attended the Protestant community at Cedar Crest.  In 2021, she had a mild, but life-changing stroke that diminished her vision and some physical and mental acuity.  One more change was needed, and in spring of ’23 Janet did her final move to Mountain View Gardens at Cedar Crest.  Once again, she was blessed with lovely new neighbors, as well as all the angels that work there.  After saying good night on New Year’s Eve, we firmly believe Janet left this earth and was welcomed home early morning on New Year’s Day, the best gift ever!   It warms our hearts to hear one aide after another say what a sweet lady our mom was... even in reduced capacity, that became clearer every year.  

A celebration of these two beautiful lives will be held on Saturday, January 13, at Messiah Lutheran Church, 228 Ramapo Valley Road, Oakland NJ.  Visitation with the family beginning at 10:00am, memorial service at 11:00am, led by Pastor Courtney Smith Westerlund of Messiah and assisted by Pastor Karyn Radcliffe from the Cedar Crest Community.  

In lieu of flowers, the family would prefer gifts given to help others in need such as Samaritan’s Purse, or the Appalachian Service Project.

 
 
 

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