Janet McGowan was a beloved wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, and after a long struggle with ill health, passed away on November 13, 2022.
Janet French was born in the Napa Valley to Mabel Peterson French and Harold L. French, and grew up on Monticello Road in Napa. She attended Mt. George Elementary School and graduated in 1957 from Napa High, the same school her parents and grandparents attended. She later attended the Napa Junior College where she achieved an AA in Business.
She married Edwin McGowan, the love of her life, in June 1961, after a short engagement - Ed knew within a week of meeting her that they were meant for each other - and they were happily married for 61 years. She worked at the Napa Credit Union, but gave up work to be at home with her daughters, first Kathleen and later Diane.
She was very involved in her daughters' school, helping at McPherson Elementary school in Napa in the library and with nearly all school trips and events. She was also a leader of her daughters' 'Bluebird' and 'Campfire Girls' groups where she mentored many girls over the years and is fondly remembered to this day by the women they became. She was amazing, always coming up with innovative arts and crafts projects and trips for the groups.
When her daughters were in college and high school, she worked at Handyman and later Robert Mondavi Winery, in the accounting department. Janet also volunteered with the community service club the Napa Lions. A breast cancer survivor, Janet fundraised fervently for Relay for Life. She also volunteered with Collabria Hospice of Napa Valley, from whom, in the last two months of her life, she received their kind services.
Soon after her first grandchild was born in 1987, Janet retired and began traveling to England to visit with Kathleen and her family. Many happy memories were made on those visits. Janet also made many trips with her daughter Diane, cruising to Alaska, traveling through the Panama Canal and other adventures. It was the many trips with Ed around the U.S. that formed some of her fondest memories - from camping and fishing across the Western U.S. when the children were young, to cruising on small tour boats up the great rivers of the U.S. with Ed in their retirement. An avid quilter, Janet would often collect fabric from her travels to remember them by. These quilts and photo scrapbooks they made of each trip were a great joy to Janet when she could no longer travel due to ill health. Her quilts will continue to be used with love by her family for years to come.
Janet was a kind, loving, thoughtful person who will be remembered for her wonderful, full laugh and lovely smile. She leaves her husband, Ed McGowan; daughters: Diane McGowan of Napa and Kathleen McGowan Inman (Simon) of Santa Rosa; granddaughters: Ashley Zanchelli (Michael) of Mount Rainier, MD, and Meredith Wellingham (Charles) of Bristol, England; and great-granddaughters: Ada and Sophie Zanchelli and Robin Wellingham.
A small family graveside gathering will be held. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made, in her memory, to the American Heart Association or to Collabria Hospice Care of Napa Valley.