Her high school senior yearbook described her as “Clever with a sketch pad and pencil, her infectious laughter is constantly bubbling forth.”
Janet Marie Waterfield née Baker, who passed away Sunday, Aug. 30, truly lived a life marked by extraordinary creativity and humor.
Born Nov. 22, 1938, Janet attended Goldey-Beacom College in Wilmington before going to work at the U.S. Army Cold Weather and Mountain School in Fort Greeley, Alaska, where she became an accomplished downhill snow skier, and in Fort Belvoir, Virginia, at the U.S. Army Command Management School.
Janet graduated from Troy State University, Troy, Alabama, with a B.S. in Art Education and taught at the Fort Rucker Preschool, where her creative activities and penchant for holiday costumes made her a favorite among children and parents.
After moving to Richmond County, Virginia, she taught art to grades four through 12 at Farnham schools, Richmond County Intermediate, and Rappahannock High School for four years. During this time, she attended Virginia Tech in Blacksburg for continuing education as a teacher.
She then went to work at the headquarters of the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren, Virginia, as an Administrative Assistant, a position from which she retired in 1994.
A lifelong writer and avid reader, Janet loved the books of Southern writers in particular, especially Carson McCullers and Flannery O’Connor. She wrote poetry that reflected keen awareness of the Vietnam War as her husband served there. While working as a teacher, she drafted a novel.
A Master Gardener through the Virginia Cooperative Extension who delighted in watching wildlife at her home on the Rappahannock River, Janet encouraged oyster restoration and wrote a how-to article on oyster gardening for a Chesapeake Bay area publication.
She enjoyed painting furniture with faux finishes and often embellished antique pieces with designs from the Pennsylvania Dutch culture near her girlhood home of Seaford. She had a pottery wheel and kiln in her home studio where she made pottery and stained glass ornamentals. She painted rural landscapes and portraits of the people she encountered in her travels.
Throughout her career, as a military spouse, and in her church, Janet made a rich circle of friends and had remained in contact with many of them from as far back as high school and her first year of college. None meant more to her than Judy Marie Pasco (Jack), of Heath, Ohio, whose visits and loving regard brought fun and joy to Janet for years, especially as her health waned.
Janet portrayed Louise “Ouiser” Boudreaux in a Northern Neck, Virginia, production of “Steel Magnolias” in a performance residents still talk about for how Janet made hilarious use of her own wit and candor in a play about a small town community who must draw together to mourn one of their own. Today that memory and message echo as Janet’s own family and friends experience the profound void left in the passing of a remarkable person and artist, wife and mother.
She is survived by her husband Herbert Marshall Waterfield; two daughters, Sayna M. Jones (Hayden Christopher), King George, Virginia, and Cesca Janece Waterfield, Warsaw, Virginia; granddaughters Deanna M. Jones, Pompano Beach, Florida, and Hayley M. Kennedy (Steven), Woodstock, Virginia; sister Gilda I. Miller (Doug), Seaford; nephews David E. McNatt, Jr., Seaford, Kurt R. Miller (Alison), Castle Pines, Colorado; James Nevin Waterfield (Noreen), Lititz, Pennsylvania; and Ronald I. Clark, Wilmington; nieces Saundra R. Miller, Salisbury; Cynthia L. Niedland, Albuquerque, New Mexico; Suzanne L. Niedland, West Palm Beach, Florida; Jennifer N. Parrish (Alan), St. Petersburg, Florida; and beloved godchildren Emily J. Heath, Perry, Georgia, and William A. Jones (Lorene), Eufala, Alabama.
A private service was held in Delaware with immediate family. Janet was interred alongside family who predeceased in Bethel.
To leave a condolence visit www.cranstonfuneralhome.com.