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Janet Merrick La Belle

October 26, 1940 May 12, 2019
Janet Merrick La Belle
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Obituary for Janet Merrick La Belle

Janet Merrick La Belle died peacefully in the early morning hours of Mother’s Day, May 12, 2019. As a dearly loved mother of three, grandmother of 10, and great grandmother of soon-to-be two children, we think it is a fitting tribute to her life. Janet is survived by her sister and brother-in-law, Joan and Mike Schut; her brother and sister-in-law, Arnie and Dolly Merrick; her son and his family, Tony and Jackie La Belle; her eldest daughter and her family, Nettie and Brendan La Belle-Hamer; and her youngest daughter and her family, Karin and Jeff Roberts; her grandchildren (listed in age order) Tully, Hannah, Jedidiah, Sarah, Emily, Sharaya, Thaddeus, Anderson, Annie, and Aurora; and her great-grandchildren William and (expected) Samuel. Many people who grew up with her children think of her as family, as she opened her heart to all children. Her cat, Queenie, who she thought of as family, is now living with her granddaughter in Spokane. In addition, she had many extended family members and dear friends who will miss her very much.

Janet Merrick was born in Saint Maries, Idaho, on October 26, 1940. Her family moved to Washington State where she graduated from Spokane’s Rogers High School (Class of 1958). She married Robert William La Belle at the young age of 18 in 1958. They lived in Seattle, Washington, for a time, then California for a few years, following her husband’s career path. Eventually they settled in Anchorage, Alaska in 1965, where they raised their family. In 2010, they sold their house of 42 years intending to move back to Spokane, but sadly Janet ended up taking that trip alone when her husband passed in June of that year. She resided in Spokane, near her youngest child, until her passing. She made many dear friends there.
She often told her children that her one goal in life was to be a mother and raise children, which she definitely accomplished! She was a homemaker who sewed with great skill many clothes for herself, her children, and others, as well as endless costumes for her daughters’ many dance recitals and Halloweens, as well as formals for proms and Job’s Daughters’ events. She made both her daughters’ wedding dresses to their specifications – not an easy task. When her eyesight started to fail, she learned to quilt and made many quilts for family and friends.

Later in life, she went back to seek the college education that she and her husband left to start their family. She received an Associate’s Degree in accounting and started a business out of her home as a part-time bookkeeper and tax preparer. She was most proud of her work as Alaska’s Senator Ted Stevens’ bookkeeper and the relationship with the Senator and his family that this created.

Always active in church, she was the treasurer and a choir member for Anchor Park Methodist church for many years in Anchorage. She became involved in the church at her residence in Spokane by writing the weekly bulletin for the Sunday service. She attended services there when she could and invited pastors to her home for prayer and communion when she could not.

Although not a sports fan, she never missed a game in which her kids played, and attended many for her grandchildren. Although not an avid driver, she drove many, many miles taking her children to their many of sports, music, and social events. Although a cat person, she took care of the many dogs her children insisted on bringing home. Although never rich, she donated to causes she found compelling. She was a very generous person throughout her life and will be missed by all who knew her.

In lieu of flowers, family asks for donations in Janet's name go to SCRAPS -- Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service.

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