Janet Crist-Whitzel died peacefully on July 12, 2021, at her home in Half Moon Bay with close friends and her beloved pets by her side. Janet lived on the coast for over 40 years and was known for being a fierce advocate for animal rights and the environment.
Janet and her brother Chuck grew up in Seattle, Wash. She attended Lincoln High School and then attended the University of Washington where she graduated with a B.A. in math and Russian. While waiting to attend graduate school, Janet worked as the assistant dean of women at Oregon State University. Janet continued her studies when she moved to the University of Indiana graduating with a master’s in education. From there she moved to California to graduate with a Ph.D. in philosophy from Stanford University.
After Stanford, Janet started her work career as a researcher at Far West Laboratories for Educational Development in San Francisco. From there she moved on to begin her career in 1982 as a research assistant with San Mateo County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services. Her intelligence, financial acumen and skill with data analysis led to her promotion into financial management and she skillfully managed a large, complex budget and other administrative services until she retired in 2005. She was deeply appreciated by her colleagues not only for her deep expertise but for her kind and calm disposition and commitment to the patients served. Her expertise was so valuable and her commitment to the work so deep that she continued to provide consultation for many years until she fully retired in 2013.
Janet was passionate about her beloved pets and offered a home in Half Moon Bay to many abandoned pets over the years. She loved wild places and wild things and for many years she would pack up her RV and travel with her pets to her family cabin at Priest Lake, Idaho.
Janet was thrilled when Village of the Coastside launched. She knew all about the Village Movement throughout the country through her research. She was one of the first members to sign up for Village events and services that emphasize activities that enable older adults to remain in their homes. As a member, Janet had the opportunity to reimagine her life through the active volunteer services available to her. She loved to go and was a consistent attendee at monthly luncheons, dinners, conversations, symphonies and her favorite, “movie night.”
Janet is survived by her brother Chuck Crist; her nephews, Kelly Kerani and Kevin Crist; and nieces Cathy Light, Corey Thorpe and Hyla Smith.
She leaves behind her care family Salma, Andrea and Geisler and beloved pets Maggie, Nikki, Cassie, Lizzie, and her blind hospice dog, Ellie.
Janet was a courageous, kind, compassionate soul known for her bright smile. She will be dearly missed.
Remembrance donations for Janet can be made at villageofthecoastside.org or Village of the Coastside, P.O. Box 1595, El Granada, CA 94018.