Janet Lee Wentworth Collins
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).
I am so sorry for her family. It is sad that Her twin passed away from the same illness. Such a shock. She was admired and loved by so many.
Kay Stewart Feb 1 2023 11:49 PM
Janet and I shared many laughs together, reminiscing over our days in the Registrar’s Office. When we retired, we had fun playing golf in Woodland and Davis. She will be greatly missed by the Davis and Woodland communities as she gave so much of herself to them. My heart goes out to Steve and her children.who will miss her the most.
Mary Ann Smith Jan 25 2023 3:59 PM
Janet and Steve were neighbors in my North Davis neighborhood. I walked my dogs by their house every day and when time allowed we always enjoyed a good conversation. I would run into them here and there around town or at the Yolo Fair where she exhibited her art. She always had a warm smile. To Steve and her family, I am so very sorry for you loss.
Dolores Blake Jan 20 2023 10:07 PM
I met Janet in the Master Gardener's class we both graduated from last year. She was such a sweet soul. Just recently spoke with her and planned to meet up at one of the Master Gardener classes. I will certainly miss her and her sweet smile. A truly lovely person.
Marlene Rinella Jan 19 2023 8:16 PM
I met Janet last November when she volunteered to give gardening advice at the Arboretum plant sale. She told me she was new at volunteering but she was wonderful at it, very approachable and knowledgeable when answering gardening questions. We shared quite a bit about our families and about our work at the university. I have thought of Janet many times since then, and I looked forward to seeing her again. I am so sad to have lost this new friend!
Kathy Polkinghorn Jan 19 2023 8:08 PM
Janet was a lovely person. I was part of the University Farm Circle bridge group with her, and she was always welcoming and enjoyable to be with. She had a good heart, and I will miss her.
Laurie Friedman Jan 18 2023 7:08 PM
Janet was a wonderful woman, in every way. She was fun to be with, warm and welcoming to all. She accomplished much in her good life. I knew her as an excellent bridge player, but also as a member of “University Farm Circle.” There she took on every new job and challenge with charm and vigor accomplishing a lot. She made her mark in this world of ours.She will be seriously missed by all who knew and loved her.
Carlene Ozonoff Jan 17 2023 10:34 PM
Janet was a great friend to everyone. She was kind, welcoming, caring, a good listener, fun-loving and inclusive. She will be greatly missed!
Kathy Hayes Jan 16 2023 9:04 PM
Janet was always kind and welcoming to all. Her heart was open. She always brought a light, fun spirit to share with friends. We will miss her greatly.
Mila Soengler Jan 16 2023 8:11 PM
Janet will always be close to my heart for she always was supportive and loving
Someone who I could count on to show up with a smile and her light
SMITH TONI Jan 16 2023 6:16 PM