When Janet Gunter passed away at her home on April 27th, 2021, she left behind many things. Family and friends who will miss her every day, chests full of toys for the many children she loved and spoiled, stacks of mystery novels, and sewing rooms packed with material and needles and dozens of unfinished quilt tops — all signs of her passions in life. She was a quiet woman with a loyal heart, brimming with love and generosity.
In her 79 years, she led many different versions of her life. From helping her family through the Great Depression in Oklahoma, to throwing cocktail parties at her Florida home, to living in Italy and Mexico, and finally settling down in Idaho to be closer to family, through every different stage of life, Janet spent most of her time being everyone’s mother and grandmother. She opened her arms and her homes to kids of all ages, biological or otherwise.
Rather than try to summarize the impact she left on this world, those who loved her say it best:
“I will miss sleeping next to her.” Jerikka Palmer, great-granddaughter
“I loved when she would wake up extra early to make eggs for me and she never forgot to turn on my favorite show strawberry shortcake and also I loved when she would give me her lip liners; the smell always reminded me of her.” Ava Funk “adopted” granddaughter.
“I learned the invaluable importance of owning a top-tier vacuum because of grandma. One time, grandma came over to visit us for a week or so when I was still pretty young. Grandma went on a rampage about the lack of quality in my mom’s vacuum. A belt or something broke in it when grandma was trying to use it and she just went off for the next 30 minutes about how important it is to have a quality vacuum that lasts. We were in the car to get the vacuum fixed and she spent the entire ride talking about vacuums. I was pretty young, so I didn’t care about vacuums. At all. So the whole thing cracked me up. I’d never seen grandma so upset before… And it was over a vacuum ” Alex Bailey, grandson
“One thing I’ll miss is trying to bake with her. I’ll never forget our coconut cake disaster.” Maigon Nuse, granddaughter
“I will always be grateful for all the years I spent living in the same house as her. She listened, made me laugh, and gave advice whenever I needed it. Having her to talk to after school, during bad breakups, or the morning after a night out shaped who I am today.” Tasha Wise, granddaughter
“She always had gummy bears.” Austin Adams, grandson
“She was the sweetest and most caring person I have ever met. She will be a ray shining sun beaming down upon us from heaven.” JR Reed, grandson
“I will miss her mischievous smile that she had when she was trying to get her way. I will miss watching her make quilts, and the pure joy she had in making them so special.” Lisa Beth Dodson “adopted” daughter.
“What I remember most about Jan was her gentle nature. The moment she saw you, you were greeted with a sweet smile and a feeling of warmth and love. I never recall her ever raising her voice. Do not mistake that Jan also had a sassy side. I always knew there was something coming when she would get that mischievous grin on her face. I loved that so much! The best part was, she did it with such grace and charm! Sometimes it took a minute to register that she had just socked it to you! I will miss her but find great peace in knowing I was lucky enough to be loved by her and will see her again.” Jodi Thomas, family friend
“I used to love tickling my mom. She was so ticklish! I would tickle her and she would start laughing and she couldn’t stop laughing even when you stopped tickling her. Then all you had to do is flinch and she would scream no and start laughing again. Oh how I will miss her laughter.” Stephanie Adams, daughter
“This morning in The Seattle Times I read about our state’s precious orca whales in the northwest waters, I learned that “they are the only species like humans that put family first. The Orcas are matriarchal with the pods and they care for their young lifelong, Grandmother orcas play a crucial role in the pod”. After reading this I knew what Jan did, she influenced my life in so many positive ways, but the most important is that I could do anything I wanted on my own. Looking back when Mykee and myself had nothing, and believe me we had nothing, I never thought I would be where I am today, but I know that it’s because of Jan. She has always been leading the family! I love her, even if she wasn’t my biological mom, SHE WAS MY MOM! – Donna Metz, “adopted” daughter
“Jan was a very loving and caring mother to her children and grandchildren.” Jill Christen, step-daughter.
“I’ll miss her willingness to always talk to me, her smiles, hugs and love. The way she was always there for all of us no matter what.” LaDonna Bailey, daughter
“Jan was a generous and patient stepmother to her “inherited” 3 stepchildren. I appreciated her wicked sense of humor and accompanying chuckle. She was an excellent listener and didn’t offer advice unless asked. She loved babies and traveled to see our son before he was even a month old. I’ll miss her warmth and love of life. Rest in Peace, Jan.” Chris Landes, step-daughter
“I will remember mom’s kindness and loving. Her helpfulness and support when I really needed it.” Jerry Reed, son
“It is impossible to express my feelings of Jan in a just a few lines. Jan was a very close trustworthy friend whom both Phyl and I could and did confide with her back before Phyl went to be with Her Maker. The last time I talked with Jan, just a few days before her passing, she assured me she was ready for Heaven and Jan, I will be doing my best to live the life laid out for us by Jesus Christ so I can meet you there and we can dance on “The Streets of Gold”. Hopefully, Phyl and you have gotten Mansions next to each other so we can be “close” again.” -Ralph Linnell, close friend
“I will always remember our years of friendship and there were years when we didn’t stay in touch but always managed to get back in touch and continue on! Our many phone calls – no matter how serious – we always seemed to share a laugh before saying Love you and Bye!” Bobbi Long, life-long friend
Janet – aka Mom, grandma, Gigi – will be missed by many who found comfort and love in her arms. She is survived by children LaDonna Bailey, Jerry Reed, Stephanie Adams, and David Palmer; step-children her grandchildren Tasha, Bradley, JR, Austin, Alex, Maigon, and David; her great-grandchildren Jerikka, Emma, and Avery; and numerous nieces, nephews, and people who claimed her as their own mother and grandmother.
She has been preceded in death by her father John Gunter, mother Reba (Wilson) Gunter; three brothers, John, Jack, and George Gunter; and three sisters, Bonnie Tripp, Noreen Huffman, and Helen Gunter.
Arrangements are under the direction of Bowman Funeral Parlor of Garden City.