Janet Schuett never missed church, a perm, Bible study, a phone call from a loved one or a good game of bridge. She died surrounded by family, and with a perfect manicure, in Sarasota, Fla., on March 6, 2022.
She started every day with half a grapefruit and a cup of black tea after dressing in immaculately coordinated outfits with makeup to match. Her bird feeders were never empty and she read her piles of mail with a near-religious devotion.
She was a woman about town with more friends than she could count, and made new ones every day. She was magnetic. She charmed everyone from waiters to customer service representatives with her wit and warmth, and regularly had her drinks paid for by youthful admirers.
A notorious night owl, it was common to find her on the couch until early morning reading her mail and watching recorded tennis matches (Nadal against Djokovic would nearly tear her in half). No matter how late, she always picked up the phone eager to listen to whomever called her.
“She had grace, compassion and an honest human care for others,” neighbor and friend Sandy Anderson said. “Everyone was her friend and she loved everyone.”
She was born in Sharon Center, Iowa, in 1933 to Lloyd and Ethel Meer Grout, followed two years later by her brother Jerry. The family settled in Waukesha, Wis., in 1944. She studied education and pledged Gamma Phi at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, where she met her husband, John “Jack” Schuett.
She taught third grade until she and Jack married in 1956 and had Amy, John (Carmen), Becky and Tom (Jill) in quick succession. She opened her Orono home to groups of Amish and Mennonite women who quilted and filled the house with songs of praise.
She helped Jack run Schuett Investment Companies and became an independent interior designer, lending her impeccable taste to her other peoples’ homes.
Janet and Jack criss-crossed the country in their motorhome until his passing in 2013. Florida was her favorite destination, where her fashion and charm made her something of a celebrity at RV resorts.
She was a staple of the Grout and Meer reunions, where she cherished time and laughter with many close cousins.
In her ‘80s, she added more than a dozen countries to her passport. She went on African safaris, rode dune buggies in Dubai and danced at her Brazilian grandson’s wedding.
She had a deep resilience, fueled by an iron grip on her independence and a love of life. A fall in 2021 put her in the hospital for weeks and took her left eye. “The view of the river is great and they are so nice to me here,” was the first thing she told her grandson Evan from her ICU bed. She became a favorite of nurses and within a year she was back to living by herself and finishing more sudoku puzzles than one would think possible with one eye.
She will be missed for her grace, intelligence, compassion and joie de vivre.
In addition to her four children, she is also survived by her brother, Jerry (Nancy); exchange daughter, Cris, and grandchildren, Seth (Anna), Shayla (Andy), Mattea (Tony), Jessie (Nels), Tyler, Evan, Stacey (Chris), Peter (Jessie), Spencer (Julie), Sophie, Sam, and 10 great-grandchildren.
Services will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, April 22, at Messiah United Methodist Church, 17805 County Road 6 in Plymouth. Visitation 1 hour prior to service.
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