Pat Piper

Janet dearly loved her Minnesota community-coming here to a different world than the Bronx of New York. But she loved the environment and nature-she treasured it, actually revelled in it. Janet’s activism and involvement was fueled by her concern for the community’s good yet living in concert with our environment, assuring the good life and a viable environment for the next generations.

She was committed and wonderfully zealous, and generous with all the gifts she possessed-vision and talent and knowledge and concern. Scattered throughout our lives, like grace notes, are special persons or events that bring such grace to delight our lives. Janet was like that.

When I heard that Janet was struggling with the reality of cancer, I went to sit alone in her office-to be where she’d been. And then, again, I went there after her death. I went to be still, to grieve and to remember.

What thoughts can I bring to treasure Janet? There among her things were models and posters and reminders of her commitment to harnessing the wind to produce electrical power, using that gift of nature for our needs, reducing our reliance on resources we cannot afford to waste or that pollute.

In those days since, I’ve thought often about what to connect Janet with, and it has to be the wind. For the wind can be gentle and caressing at times-musical, too-and strong and full of power. And the wind is missed, too, on those “all too still” days.

And so today, take a thought to ponder when you think of Janet.

When you feel or hear the wind, catch her spirit in that wind and remember, for we had among us a grand woman, elegant and committed, zealous and gracious, a young woman from the Bronx who came to Minnesota and rooted herself and grew to be the best that we would like to be.
-Senator Pat Piper
August 28, 1999
North Branch, MN