June 11, 1941 - June 27, 2016
Janet Mack Wilson, a longtime Bay Center resident passed away on Monday, June 27, 2016 at her home; she was 75. Janet was born June 11, 1941 in Longview, WA to James B. and Laura Virginia (Hosford) Mack. She married Richard L. Wilson on April 27, 1963 and he survives her at the family home in Bay Center. She is also survived by two sons and their wives, Eric Doren Wilson and Sile Zacharias of Gold Bar, WA and Marc Leland Wilson and Patricia Wilson of Raymond, WA; and a daughter Loretta Lynn Wilson also of Raymond. Janet has two surviving sisters Julianne (Mack) Reid of Lakewood, WA and Jeannie (Mack) Fleming of Edgewood, WA.
She attended R.A. Long High School in Longview. At an early age Janet was already leading an active life. Janet was an accomplished water skier, respected camp counselor and active in her church. After graduation from high school she went on to obtain her Bachelors of Science degree in Math at the University of Oregon. Janet began her career as a High School Math teacher in Eugene, Oregon. She also taught for several years in Pinckney, Michigan and later in Ashland, Oregon. She continued substitute teaching in North Pacific County after moving to Bay Center with her husband in 1971. She was able to continue her commitment to education by helping to start and participate in the Bay Center Star Night program; a program designed to help tutor and assist school aged kids in the Bay Center community.
Prior to marrying Richard, Janet accompanied him on many adventures. She climbed mountains including peaks in the Olympics and major peaks in Oregon. She assisted with her future husband's geology and fossil work in Oregon, Idaho and Kansas. A favorite story of hers while camping in Kansas was being able to read a book by the frequent lightning and even dodging a tornado.
For over 40 years, Janet was principally involved with operating Bay Center Mariculture, the family oyster hatchery and farm. She was continually improving and enlarging the vitally important algal system used to feed the oyster larvae. Eventually she transitioned to managing the retail seafood store until the day she passed.
Janet found great joy in the local wildlife that inhabited their yard. She felt responsible for feeding the dozens of hummingbirds that swarmed the front of the house where the feeders were. She would listen intently for the calls that would signal the hatching of the chickadees that nested yearly on the front porch. Each day the appearances of the deer, raccoons, ground squirrels, eagles, and miscellaneous other critters combined to add to her love of the country life she was so fond of living in Bay Center.
Her love of gardening led her to obtain a Master Gardener certification. She was constantly rooting, planting, pruning, deadheading or picking something in her yard. Often these activities were shared with some combination of grandchildren.
Her knitting skills were extraordinary. Not a holiday or occasion would go by where she wouldn't produce a scarf, blanket, pillow or sweater of heirloom quality. She was able to find the tiniest break in the day and use it to work on her knitting. It was common to see Janet sitting in the living room, grandchildren close, almost unconsciously knitting on the current creation as she engaged in the grandchildren's activities. In fact, every member of the family has a Christmas stocking that was hand knitted by Janet. There is a half-finished afghan currently residing under the "mail station" counter in the home today as if ready for her to continue its progress as it was meant to accompany the eldest granddaughter on her first day of college this August.
Of course, her biggest thrill was to spend time with her grandchildren, of which she has six (Tessa, Domonique, Ty, Matthew, Roisin and Declan). Grandma always welcomed the grandkids into whatever was the project of the day. Grandkids were always perched on stools stirring pots, assisting with decorating cupcakes or cookies or working in the garden. First order of business when visiting grandma on Sunday was the Sunday morning church session where a proud grandma showed off her grandchildren to the other members of the church. Janet reveled in her role as grandma and always ended her phone conversations with "give those little darlings a hug from grandma."
Janet's talents and commitments went well beyond the family and she enjoyed supporting her community. For over 40 years she was an active member of the Bay Center Methodist Church where she was the organist. She occupied a variety of key roles for the Bay Center Improvement Club and Bay Center Women's Club. Every week for over 30 years she volunteered for the Willapa Harbor Food Bank. She was also an active member of the Bay Center Volunteer Fire Department serving three decades in the capacity of First Responder and Firefighter. She also served on the Board of Willapa Harbor Counseling for over 20 years.
Janet Wilson was known by many titles: Mother, wife, friend, lover, grandmother, teacher, firefighter, first responder, mountain climber, fossil digger, water skier, oyster plate collector, Master Gardener, business partner, algologist.....The list goes on and on. The community lost a leader and the Wilson family lost its matriarchal pillar.