Lansing, New York

Janet Irene Morse Dean of Lansing, NY, died peacefully on January 26, 2017, at the Cayuga Medical Center, Ithaca, NY, comforted by her four children and daughter-in-law, following a brief illness. She was 92 years old.

Born August 10, 1924, in Freeville, NY, Janet lived most of her life in Ithaca and never lost her love for the Finger Lakes. Adopted by Helen (Lincoln) and Carl Morse at the age of six months, she spent a joyful youth on South Hill. Helen and Carl subsequently adopted her younger brother George as well. Mary Gridley Allaben remained a life-long South Hill friend. Janet’s mom married Irving King following the death of her first husband. Janet regaled her children with stories of many happy family summers during her childhood on Owasco Lake, NY and Lake Massasecum, NH.

Janet graduated with the Ithaca High School class of 1942 and until recently helped to organize many annual class reunions. She earned her registered nurse diploma from the Strong Memorial Hospital School of Nursing in Rochester. For 30 years, she worked the night shift in the maternity ward at Tompkins County Hospital, where she formed a close and enduring friendship with Mary Cox. She participated in the Harvard Nurses’ Health Study for 40 years and retired from nursing in 1979.

Janet married Eugene L. Dean in St. Paul’s United Methodist Church on July 12, 1947. They raised a daughter, Jan, and three sons—Larry, Stu and Jeff—on Valentine Place in Ithaca, where Janet and Gene made their home for more than 40 years. Janet led a Camp Fire Girls group during Jan’s youth and for many years assisted her husband, the scout master of Ithaca Boy Scout Troop 19, with scouting activities. She spent many summers with Troop 19 at Camp Barton on Cayuga Lake in Trumansburg. Less than a week before her death she reminisced fondly with Mark Macera, a former Troop 19 scout, about road trips on which she drove.

Janet’s favorite activities included sewing, knitting and quilt-making. She especially enjoyed knitting hats and sewing baby sleep sacks, stuffed animals, quilts, table runners and other gifts for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Every new member of the family, whether by marriage or birth, received a hand-knit, personalized Christmas stocking. Janet read avidly, frequently visiting the Lansing Community Library and often completing four or five books a week. She enjoyed crossword puzzles, usually finishing the daily newspaper puzzle in a few minutes, and plowing through New York Times collections in short order.

The Gorges Gals of Ithaca Red Hat group enriched and enlivened her life for many years. Caribbean cruises, theater performances, wine tastings and Tuesday morning breakfasts at the Royal Court kept her in close touch with the many friends who filled her life. Previously, Janet actively participated in and led activities of the Ithaca Business and Professional Women’s Club.

Thanks to her grandson, Hutson Hayward, she joined the electronic age late in life. Hutson set up an iPad and a Gmail account for his grandmother and she embraced the opportunity to use the technology to keep in touch with her family. She regularly competed online Scrabble with her children and grandchildren, sometimes having as many as 15 games underway at one time. She delighted in receiving messages and pictures from her grandchildren, especially when their work took them to Africa, Europe, Asia and distant parts of North America.

Of all of the joys of her life, Janet took the most pride and pleasure from her 12 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. Nothing could cheer her more than a short video of a great-grandchild in Maine, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina or South Carolina. Pictures of great-grandchildren brightened every room of her home. Pride flowed both ways. Janet was a model for her daughter and seven granddaughters, as one of the strongest and most resilient women they have known.

Janet is survived by her daughter Jan Hayward and her husband Sam of Bowdoinham, ME; her three sons: Larry of Greenfield, MA; Stu and his wife Terri of Lansing, NY; and Jeff and his longtime companion Sandra Owens of Bruceton, TN and his former wife, Collette Dean of Vero Beach, FL; 12 grandchildren: Emily Lawrence and her husband Mike of Derry, NH; Hutson Hayward and his wife Tracy Krueger of Bowdoinham, ME; Ian Hayward of Portland, ME; Caitlin Hayward of Brunswick, ME; Jamie Stockton and his wife Dawn of Groton, NY; Laurie Stockton of Chapel Hill, NC; Jesse Miller and his wife Shawna of Fort Mill, SC; Kim Titone and her husband Sean, also of Fort Mill, SC; Lindsey Felling and her husband Jack of Larchmont, NY; Ashley Dean and her husband Arnold Lopez of Washington, DC; Tara Sessa and her husband Joe of Delray Beach, FL; and Aaron Dean also of Vero Beach, FL; and 12 great-grandchildren.

In addition to her parents, Janet was preceded in death by her daughter Nancy, who died shortly after birth; her husband, Gene, in 2011; and her brother George Morse in 2014.

In lieu of flowers, those wishing to remember Janet may make a gift to the Friends of the Lansing Community Library, 27 Auburn Road, Lansing, NY 14882 (https://www.lansinglibrary.org/get-involved) or to Planned Parenthood of the Southern Finger Lakes, 620 W. Seneca Street, Ithaca, NY 14850.

Calling hours will be at the Lansing Funeral Home, 32 Auburn Road, Lansing, NY 14882 (http://www.lansingfuneralhome.com), Wednesday, February 1, 2017, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.  A celebration of Janet's life will be planned for the spring.