Janet Jo McMeans Tompkins was born Janet Jo Jefferis on July 27, 1922 in Chicago, IL to Lowell C. and Vivian Pickering Jefferis. She passed from this life to enter her new life with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ on March 13, 2023 at the age of 100. Janet had been a resident of Featherstone Assisted Living since 2011. Prior to that, she had lived 50 years in Irving, TX.
Janet spent her youth in Milwaukee, WI, Spiceland, IN, and Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She graduated from Coe College in Cedar Rapids in 1942. In the fall of 1943, Janet met with the Navy recruiters, tested and scored the highest on the written test ever recorded in Cedar Rapids, thus approving her for officer’s candidate school. Now just four months past her 21st birthday with a Bachelor’s degree in French and 8 months as a draftsman under her belt, Janet reported to Smith College in Northampton, Mass. on December 17, 1943. On April 4, 1944, she received her orders to report to the Office of Naval Communications, Annex in Washington, D,C. She spent her entire service coding and de-coding top secret, secret and routine messages. She earned several commendations and was promoted to Lt (jg) on July 1, 1945. She was released to inactive duty on May 3, 1946. On June 5, 1946 Janet Jo Jefferis was given her honorable discharge. She remained in the U.S. Naval Reserves until March 21, 1951, seven days shy of Sharon’s birth.
On June 8, 1946 Janet married F.W. McMeans (Mac), a Navy corpsman/Marine who served the medical corps in the Pacific Theater. After honeymooning in The Dells, WI, they left for the University of Iowa to begin their schooling on the Gi Bill. They both enrolled at Iowa where Mac earned his Pharmacy degree and Janet earned her Masters in Education. Wayne was born while they were in Iowa City on April 30, 1949 (named for the war ship that took Mac to Guadalcanal). Following their schooling, Mac went with Osco Drug and moves took them to St. Paul and St. Cloud, MN after leaving Cedar Rapids where Sharon was born on March 28, 1951. After a particularly bitter winter in St. Cloud, Mac moved his family to Texas. Janet thought she would die in the Texas heat with no air conditioning. It was horrible, but they remained. Mac was not leaving his beloved Texas ever again! Diane was born in Dallas, TX on Dec.27, 1953.They owned and operated Williamsburg Drug for over 10 years.
Janet was a great source of strength for her children. She endured much and sacrificed much for them. She lost Mac when she was young (52) and so was he (54). We did not think she would go on, but she did. Time and circumstance led Janet to marry again to Leslie Tompkins. Tommy passed away on Oct. 24, 2011.
Finding herself without a spouse for the first time in over 60 years, Janet explored some talents that she had laid aside. She began painting with oils and acrylics again, enjoyed reading and shopping with her daughters. Janet loved Facebook and she posted regularly until about age 99. She loved margaritas and enjoyed dining where she could order her signature drink. For her 100th birthday, she wanted a margarita party. It was unique and so much fun. She had many friends at Featherstone over the 12 years she lived there. Many of those friends pre-deceased her, but one special friend she me early on was Gingerlei Waddell, whom she met through Julia Dean. Gingerlei is known for wearing a flower in her hair so about 8 years ago, Janet adopted that. She loved her visits from Gingerlei. Saturdays you could find Gingerlei going through Janet’s refrigerator, throwing away tidbits of this and that and helping Janet with her latest project for de-cluttering! Janet’s tablemates at Featherstone were treasured friends, including Juanita Williams, Dorothy Seay and Dolphus and Jannine Haddock. Janet’s favorites were Waylon and Shawn Shirey, employees and friends at Featherstone. The girls, Ashton, Kayleigh, Tiffany, Brooklyn, Cadi and Emily and others too numerous to name, provided hours of companionship, laughs and assistance to Janet. Tina Vaughn kept Janet’s curly silver hair looking coifed and beautiful. Rachel McKinney and all the staff at Featherstone provided a loving and welcoming environment for her 12 years there. Complete Hospice, under the direction of Stacy Hutchens and her daughter Adi, loved Janet as their own. Their loving kindnesses over the years meant so much to Janet. She especially enjoyed her long visits with Adi and loved dispensing her sage advice on love. Adi and Janet were “best buds.” Her nurse, Tammy and caregiver, Julia made Janet’s last months easier.
Janet is preceded in death by her husband, F.W. McMeans and second husband, Leslie W. Tompkins; sister, Dorris Jefferis Hatt; daughter, Diane McMeans Kreger; sons-in-law, James E. Berish and Dr. Jack Landy Robinson.
Janet is survived by two of her children, Wayne McMeans of Waxahachi, TX and Sharon Robinson of Durant, OK.; daughter-in-law, Linda McMeans of Waxahachi, TX and son-in-law, Gary Kreger of Bennington, OK. Grandchildren, Gena Strasia of Middleton, WI; George Berish and wife Renee of Manhattan, KS, Jeff McMeans, wife Barbara, children A.J. and Sayre and granddaughter Ayria of Aubrey, TX.,and Sheila McMeans of Waxahachi, TX. Great grandchildren are Olivia, Luke and Julia Strasia of Middleton, WI; Reagan and Hadley Berish of Manhattan, KS; and Asher Wayne McMeans of Waxahachi, TX.
Family hour will be from 6-7 PM on Tuesday, March 21st at the Holmes~Coffey~Murray Chapel, 121 N. 5th St. Durant, OK.
A chapel service will begin at 7:00 PM with Rev. Allen Carson officiating.
She will be laid to rest on Wednesday, March 22nd at 11:00 AM at the DFW National Cemetery with Gary Kreger, George Berish, Jeff McMeans, Dr. Aaron Adair, Waylon Shirey and Pat Jennings serving as the pallbearers. Mr. Dolphus Haddock will serve as honorary pallbearer.
For those unable to make the viewing/service, a viewing room in the funeral home has been prepared for visitors to stop by and pay their respects.
Services are under the direction of Holmes~Coffey~Murray Funeral Home, 121 N. 5th St, Durant, OK 74701. www.holmescoffeymurray.com
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