Janet's Story

BELFAST - Janet Sue Wentworth, 78, of Belfast, ME, who devoted her life to her family and community service, died Monday, June 29, 2015 at a Bangor hospital.

Memorial services are scheduled for Wednesday, July 8, at 11 a.m. at Riposta Funeral Home in Belfast.

Janet was born Dec. 29, 1936, in Amarillo, TX but considered Portales, NM, a small city located on the high plains, or Llano Estacado, of eastern New Mexico as the source of her roots. She and her parents, Eagle and Veda Moore, moved there from the Texas Panhandle in about 1938.

She graduated Portales High School in 1954, and enrolled at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, TX where she graduated with a degree in journalism in 1958. Upon graduation, she began work as a reporter for the Abilene (TX) Reporter News. It was there that she met James M. Wentworth, originally of Brooks, ME, who was then an electrical engineer employed in West Texas by the Rural Electrification Association. They were married March 12, 1960, in Janet's hometown, and shortly thereafter established their home in Lubbock.

Two daughters, Susan Rene Simonson of Allentown, PA, and Julie Layne Wentworth-Armijo of Corrales, NM, were born in Lubbock, and with their parents relocated to Belfast in 1968 where her husband established an electrical engineering business.

In 2000, she and her husband built a home in Casa Grande, AZ where they spent winters, returning in the spring to their coastal Maine home. Casa Grande is a location of special significance to Janet. Her father's parents relocated to nearby Coolidge, AZ, from Oklahoma in the early 1930s where they established a Depression-era cotton farm, and she spent many holidays and vacations there with family. Her grandparents and parents are interred there with other family.

Janet had resided in Belfast for 47 years, adopting it as the new source of her roots, and in her frequent visits out West, she extolled the qualities of the people and the environment of coastal Maine and was responsible for attracting numerous friends and family to visit the State. She particularly reveled in visits from her grandchildren, for whom she served as tour guide to most of the Mid-Coast's scenic and historical attractions, introducing them to the area's cultural uniqueness.

In her formative years, Janet traveled extensively each summer with her parents throughout the West. Her father was for more than 50 years a custom combiner who followed the seasonal wheat harvest from Arizona to Montana. As a teenager, Janet assisted her mother cook for harvest crews that at times numbered more than 60.

While raising her daughters in Belfast, Janet became active in service to her community through the Girl Scouts, as a former member of the board of Kno-Wal-Lin Home Care and Hospice, teaching adult literacy and through other community betterment endeavors.

She joined P.E.O., a sisterhood dedicated to providing increased educational opportunities for women through scholarships and grants, in 1972 and served as the local chapter president in 1977, 1989 and 1999. Through her involvement in the national P.E.O., she became in 1990 a founding member of the Northeast District Chapter, which combined and unified individual chapters in Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. She served in all seven executive offices of the larger Northeast District Chapter and was president of the group in 1995-96. She attended the organization's national conventions in 1977, 1989, 1995 and 2007. In 2003, she authored "Our Beginning," a history of the formation of the Northeast District.

In addition to her husband and daughters, Janet is survived by two grandsons, Andy Simonson of Fort Walton, FL, Brendan Simonson of Baltimore, MD; two granddaughters, Kate and Lila Armijo of Corrales, NM, sons-in-laws Patrick Simonson and Michael Armijo; and her brother, John Moore of Wetumpka, AL.

In lieu of flowers, the Wentworth family requests memorial contributions be sent to the P.E.O. Foundation, in honor of Janet Wentworth, in care of Lola Orcutt, Northeast District Chapter Treasurer, 58 Kira Drive, Bangor, ME 04401. Memories and condolences may be offered to the family at www.ripostafh.com.
Published in Bangor Daily News
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