Mrs. Janet Smith Davis, 1936-2021
Nov, 20 2021
First Presbyterian Church
An intrepid and devoted wife, mother, grandmother, and friend, Janet Smith Davis, 85, passed away October 2, 2021 in Fullerton, California, a city she and her family called home for the last 60 years.
Janet lives on in the hearts and memories of her beloved husband John Davis, her children Michael (Sylvia) Davis, Margaret (Matthew) Schuering, Elizabeth Davis, and William (Meredith) Davis, and seven grandchildren Delanie Davis, Kaitlyn Davis, Christopher Schuering, Ryan Schuering, Jackson Davis, Amelia Davis, and Abigail Davis.
Janet was born on March 18, 1936 in Bismarck, North Dakota to William and Margaret Smith. She was raised in Steele, North Dakota, along with her brother, Frank, in the Woodlawn Hotel and Cafe, a mainstay establishment run by her parents and Aunt Jane. Her experience growing up in the hotel fueled a can-do spirit, sense of adventure, and love of Westerns that pervaded her life and that she lovingly shared with her family.
She earned a scholarship to attend MacMurray College in Jacksonville, Illinois and later transferred to Northwestern University where she majored in Speech and Drama. An accomplished pianist and performer, Janet was crowned Miss North Dakota in 1956 and proudly represented her state in the Miss America pageant later that year.
Following college, she became a flight attendant and moved to California where she soon turned her talents to teaching at Jefferson High School in Los Angeles. A blind date arranged by her roommate led to a decades-long romance with her husband John, then a medical resident [at USC-LAC General] who went on to establish a successful urology practice. If the adage that rain on one's wedding day is good luck, Janet and John were truly blessed as they married on December 22, 1961 in a small church across the street from her family's Woodlawn Hotel in Steele, North Dakota during a blizzard.
The couple moved to Fullerton, California, purchasing the home where they would raise their children. During this time, Janet proved to be an inventor and artist in equal measure, always believing in the importance of family and community connection. She was a dedicated, highly organized volunteer and fundraiser for a myriad of organizations, many of them school groups in support of her children and the broader Fullerton community. She could build just about anything, potentially even missing a patent opportunity or two. With projects spanning creation of a high school locker shelving system, a full-sized backyard playhouse for her children and their friends, and epic Halloween costumes Charlie Brown and Cookie Monster were prize-winning, neighborhood favorites Janet was equally comfortable wielding a hammer or a sewing machine.
Over the years, she cherished travel and spending time with family and friends. Whether visiting grandparents back in the Midwest via cross-country car trips, tennis/golf weekends with friends, or beach trips to Capistrano, Janet always made time for adventure. She had a generous spirit and always found ways to connect and mingle. One such way was the "Davis Family Annual Christmas Eve Open House." Attendees came from far and wide to partake in this lively affair; donut holes seemed to be a big hit.
In more recent years, Janet took special joy in spending time with her grandchildren. She relished their development and adored watching them play together. Generations of her family are forever grateful for the way she devoted her life and her talents to creating opportunities and experiences, both large and small, for those she loved.
Family and friends are invited to celebrate Janet at her funeral service at First Presbyterian Church (838 N. Euclid St., Fullerton, CA 92832) on November 20, 2021 at 11 am.
Lunch reception to follow. To honor her memory, please consider making a donation to Meals on Wheels of Fullerton, Inc. (mowfullerton.org).
Published by Orange County Register on Oct. 17, 2021.