It is with admiration for a life well-lived that we announce the passing of Janet Zema on May 25 from complications due to Parkinson’s Disease. Janet was born in Seattle, one of three children of Chalmers and Mildred Bothwell and the granddaughter of pioneer Henry Denny. She grew up in the Montlake area, attending Garfield High School and the University of Washington. Her sisters in the Gamma Phi Beta sorority remained her dearest friends through the decades, gathering almost monthly to share life and lunch.
Janet met Gene Zema on a blind date at the end of college and they were married in 1951. Together they raised three children, built four homes, traveled the world and developed rich and diverse friendships. Janet served in the Junior League and on the Seattle Park Board and spent many years volunteering at Swedish Hospital. She enjoyed tennis, playing into her 70s. She was devoted to Gene, supporting his career as an architect and establishing a longtime Japanese antique business. They led an active, creative life: always with a trip on the calendar, a project in the works and friends coming for dinner.
Janet will always be remembered for her role as mother, grandmother and friend. She had huge capacity for entertaining and celebration, setting beautiful tables with memorable meals for family and the many people in their lives in Seattle and on Whidbey Island. She was faithful to keep up with friends over the years and quick to bring a meal and lend a hand. Janet, known as Poshi to her grandchildren, was an engaged grandmother, welcoming the kids and their friends, and present for every event in their lives. She encouraged and loved so very well.
Janet is survived by Gene, her husband of 67 years and a loving family including, son Gary, daughter Jane (husband Todd) and five grandchildren: Daniel, Ellen (Nick), Janet (Festus), Maggie and Evan. Private memorial. Gifts in Janet’s memory may be made to the American Parkinson’s Disease Association/ Northwest Chapter online at www.apdaparkinson.org/Northwest