Friday, July 10, 2009

Janet Farr

Janet Louise Monilaw was born Oct. 2, 1916, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Her parents were Harold George Monilaw and Zelda Louise Beatty, the families being longtime residents of Cedar Rapids.

Janet's dad attended college in Cedar Rapids and during the summers he worked as a counselor at his brother's boys camp in the northern Wisconsin lake country. So, at the age of 2, Janet and her mother started going to camp each summer, a practice that she followed until the late 1940s—Camp Highlands in the summer and school in La Grange, Ill., in the winter. Her dad taught mathematics in Maywood, Ill.,, a suburb of Chicago.

After high school graduation in La Grange, Janet attended one year of college at the University of Chicago, one year at La Grange Junior College, one year at the University of Iowa, and her fourth year and graduation back at the University of Chicago. These were the Depression years and she and her family were hard pressed to help her afford the expenses of college.

Following graduation from college she worked as an elementary school teacher for a few years and as a clerk stenographer and proofreader in a Chicago firm. Summers, of course, were spent working in the office at Camp Highlands. This gave her time to enjoy the out of doors and all things in nature.

In 1945 she married Gilbert (Tommy) Farr, who she had met at Camp Highlands in 1942. His dad was also a counselor at Camp Highlands and Tommy was visiting his folks before going overseas as a pilot in the Army Air Corps. Almost 64 years of married life have resulted from that union. Over the years, she has been a college student's wife, a high school teacher's wife, a Forest Service ranger's wife, a commercial pilot's wife, and for the last 28 years a retiree's wife. In each case, she has been the consummate housewife and companion.

Also during that time period, she was able to maintain a voluminous correspondence with friends and relatives. She loved to write of her outdoor experiences and of her extensive travel trips by travel trailer, horseback, canoe, and especially hiking with her husband and close friend, Lotte Buhler of Stanley, Idaho. She also wrote three manuscripts detailing her life and experiences. Most recently, she experimented with writing free-verse poetry, all having to do with scenes in nature.

Janet passed away at her home after a peaceful and painless illness. Janet will be missed and fondly remembered and loved by her husband and her many friends. She is survived by a younger brother, James Donan Monilaw, living in Wheaton, Ill.

Please, no flowers. Jan wished to be cremated.

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