Janet Lee Collins (née Wentworth) was born in 1941, in Portland, OR. She passed away unexpectedly and quickly in her home in Woodland, CA, on January 7, 2023. She was predeceased by her mother, her father, her twin sister, and a dear aunt and survived by Steve, her beloved husband of 43 years, two children, a daughter-in-law, a son-in-law, four grandchildren, and many cherished friends.
Janet relocated to Sacramento with her family when she was 10 years old and graduated from Norte del Rio High School in 1959. She attended American River College and worked at Cal Western Insurance until her first marriage in 1962. She lived in Davis from 1966 until 2016 where she raised her two children and worked at UC Davis for 26 years. She started in the temporary pool in 1979, then served as secretary to the registrar (1982 to 1996), before joining the Dean’s Office for the College of Letters and Science as a Student Affairs Officer where she worked until her retirement in 2005. During her time in the Registrar’s Office, she trained in mediation and, above and beyond the duties of the jobs she held over the years, participated in the University’s mediation team. Former colleagues from her years at the University report that she was highly valued for her friendly and approachable demeanor, her composure, her caring and compassionate nature, and her excellent people skills.
Janet enjoyed an active and satisfying retirement, filled with friends, family, and service. In 2005, she joined the University Farm Circle, a local organization dedicated to helping students and welcoming women who are new to the community. She held multiple leadership positions, including President (2017 to 2018) and Scholarship Chair (or Co-Chair) (2019/20, 2020/21, 2021/22, 2022-23) as well as planning the scholarship reception and chairing the UFC’s annual Candlelight Dinner, multiple home tours, and the newcomer group. She was particularly passionate about her work on the scholarship committee which supported many UC Davis students in meeting their educational goals. Additionally, she participated enthusiastically in many of the UFC’s interest sections, including the bridge and garden groups. UFC friends and colleagues describe her as exemplifying the welcoming mission of the UFC; she was always eager to make new friends and took special interest in embracing those new to the area. Janet was appreciated in UFC for her willingness to step up when tasks needed to be accomplished, her vast institutional knowledge, her efficiency, and her leadership.
She was also in the process of bringing her love of gardening to the community. In 2022, Janet completed the Yolo County UCCE Master Gardener Program, which trains volunteers to provide the public with research-based information about home horticulture. She had recently started volunteering in the community.
In addition to her volunteer work, she belonged to multiple, long standing book clubs and dinner groups. She was an active, long time member of the Davis Flower Arrangers, serving as President for a number of terms. She loved to travel, craft with friends, garden, and cook and was an avid photographer who won many ribbons for her work at the Yolo County Fair over the years. Janet also practiced yoga with friends for many years.
Janet was a cherished friend, described by one as a person who “specialized in friendships.” Over and over, friends reported that she was warm and kind, a good listener, sincere, trustworthy, down to earth, generous with her time, fun-loving, and adventurous. Family members described her as loving, creative, patient, caring, cheerful, and thoughtful. She was a devoted grandmother.
She will be remembered fondly by the many people whose lives she touched, but especially by her family, and her husband who will dearly miss his best friend and his “everything.”
A celebration of life will be held this spring. Please check back on her Facebook account for details.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Janet’s honor to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (https://www.lls.org/) or the University Farm Circle Endowment (UFC Treasurer, P.O. Box 858, Davis, CA 95617).