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In Memorium: Janet D. Coombs

Posted: Mon Jun 02, 2008 8:02 am
by Kent
Image JANET DEE COOMBS of Centreville, Virginia passed away on June 2, 2008, at age 64. She was the loving mother of Brian Wayson (Sarah), Kent Wayson (Tracy) and Heather Wilson (Robert), caring sister of Dudley Coombs, Diane Miller (Tim) and Judy Owen, doting grandmother of Kaitlin, Eamonn, Chet, Sam and Owen, generous (great)aunt and steadfast friend to many others. Services will be private. In lieu of flowers, contributions in her memory to Channel 26 WETA are appreciated.

For donations to WETA, the address is:
Attn: S. Lahti, WETA
2775 S. Quincy Street
Arlington, VA 22206.
Please indicate that the donation is in memory of Jan Coombs

Re: In Memorium: Janet D. Coombs

Posted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 12:49 pm
by Sarah
Gramma Jan was the kind of grandmother a kid can only wish for. Always willing to get down on the floor to build railroads, play games, read books, or do puzzles. Our boys will probably remember her best for the steady stream of cards she filled their mail box with. They knew they were completely loved by her even across all the miles.

She was also a most marvelous mother-in-law: unfailingly thoughtful, accepting, and kind. How many people can genuinely say that they enjoy hanging out with their mother-in-law? I will so miss her wry sense of humor, her open-mindedness, and her freely-given affection. I feel so deeply fortunate to have known her.

Sarah (daughter-in-law)

Re: In Memorium: Janet D. Coombs

Posted: Mon Jun 09, 2008 8:56 am
by pnadler
I remember meeting Jan, aka "Kent's mom," years ago when I moved back to Maryland and Kent and Tracy came to visit. Even though I have not seen her in many years, I still remember her warmth and friendliness, and her true love of garage sales! I remember we sat in her living room amidst her "finds" and she told me different stories about her favorite pieces. She had put together quite a collection!

Jan, for me, will always be remembered as a kind woman, and a generous woman, and one whom I know is now wandering around in God's garage sale, looking for great bargains!

Re: In Memorium: Janet D. Coombs

Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 5:50 pm
by bs wayson
Mom was not technology’s biggest fan, but we’re in charge now so she’ll have to adjust. I will remember our mom for the way she lived her life: with love, humor, tenacity, style and wit, as well as a diehard love of the Redskins, to name but a few of her finer attributes. Whether by circumstance or choice Mom did not always travel the easiest path, but it was her journey and she traversed it with pluck and aplomb.

Mom would go to great lengths for her friends and loved ones. When I was about 12 I won two tickets to a Monday Night Football game between the Redskins and the St. Louis Cardinals. That Monday was a torrential downpour – naturally the game went on and came to be known as the mud bowl. I had missed school that day due to illness, but of course we went anyway. At halftime Mom went and spent about 45 minutes standing in a queue in the pouring rain to get me the sandwich I preferred – she could of just told me “tough,” stayed dry and gotten me a hot dog indoors, but she didn’t.
Mom could hold her own and wasn’t afraid to engage in tough love.

At Thanksgiving one year it was just Mom, one of her friends and I. I had been informed that dinner was at 3 o’clock. It was running behind schedule and being the difficult teenager that I was, I was ribbing Mom pretty good about it. Mom was giving just about as good as she was getting, but she had a trick up her sleeve, or should I say down her sleeve?, that I was unprepared for. After some particularly annoying jibe I turned to smirk at Mom, but didn’t quite get the smirk out as the pumpkin pie smashed into my face. Delicious!

Shortly after our three-year-old, Owen, was born and shortly after she had had a course of chemo Mom came out to visit us in Oregon. For part of her visit we went to stay at Sarah’s family beach house – about 100 yards off the high-tide line. One evening while we were there, a moderate earthquake occurred in the ocean off the Oregon coast. This was about 6-months after the Indonesia Tsunami disaster – so Oregon was all a-twitter over the possibility of a Tsunami. Soon the warning bells and whistles were going off – and once we realized what the fuss was about – it was time to grab kids, clothes, snacks and anything else we couldn’t live without and head for higher ground. Mom was already in her pajamas but she jumped right in and helped with the evacuation. Running back and forth down the gravel driveway, barefoot, to help us get the kids and gear loaded up.

Mom was inspiring in the way she tenaciously fought for years against her illnesses – enduring it all with her wry sense of humor. Mostly expressing concern and worry for others and how they were handling it before fretting over herself. I will always look to that with admiration and try to draw upon her strength and example when facing my own difficulties.
I know for certain we never lose the people we love, even to death. Mom will live on in our hearts and memories and DNA (– this is starting to sound like CSI – Centreville.)

A toast to our Mom, grandma, sister, aunt, friend:
Always remember to forget
The things that make you sad
But never forget to remember
The things that made you glad
Mom – here’s to you, and a life well lived!

Re: In Memorium: Janet D. Coombs

Posted: Tue Jun 17, 2008 9:32 am
by Brad Skiles
For all of us, I believe there are a special few individuals who touch us with their generosity and teach us through the depth of their character and their kindness. It is the lessons learned from such people that shape our character and how we treat others.

When I was a 20-something, just out of grad school at Miami, with few responsibilities and even less money, I needed a place to stay in Washington, DC while I tried to get settled and make enough money to afford my own place. I was fortunate at Miami to share the "crucified Gumby" office for a year with Kent, and he assured me his mom would take me in. She didn't hesitate. She not only took me in, she made me feel like her home was my home. She fed me--well! She showed concern for me. She made me laugh--often! And when I moved out, she sent me with a few extra pieces of furniture and lamps to help me with my apartment. There was no pretense. There were no strings attached. There was merely Jan's open heart and love. She gave to me because she cared for me. She was kind and loving to me, because she was kind and loving in the very center of her heart.

Jan revealed to me by her very example what it means to have a generous heart. Many people talk about what it means to show kindness to others. Precious few people live that kindness. I remember Jan for her extraordinary kindness to me at a time when I probably didn't appreciate it enough. But I fully appreciate her gifts to me now. And I know those lessons, and her legacy, will live on by how I emulate the example she set for me.

My condolences to my good friend, Kent, (Who shares many of his mother's wonderful qualities!) as well as to Heather, Brian, and the rest of Jan's family. You lost a special woman. I'm blessed to have been touched by her love and kindness.


poem from the memorial

Posted: Mon Jun 23, 2008 10:49 pm
by Kent
Here's the poem my sister asked me to read. I think it's pretty funny and I'm sure it brought a smile to Mom's face whenever she read it.


BEFORE she has her floor swept
Or her dishes done,
Any day you'll find her
A-sunning in the sun!
It's long after midnight
Her key's in the lock,
And you never see her chimney smoke
Till past ten o'clock!
She digs in her garden
With a shovel and a spoon,
She weeds her lazy lettuce
By the light of the moon.
She walks up the walk
Like a woman in a dream,
She forgets she borrowed butter
And pays you back cream!
Her lawn looks like a meadow,
And if she mows the place
She leaves the clover standing
And the Queen Anne's lace!

- Edna St. Vincent Millay

Washington Post item

Posted: Tue Jun 24, 2008 3:44 pm
by Kent
(original here)

COOMBS JANET D. COOMBS On June 2, 2008. Loving mother of Brian Wayson (Sarah), Kent Wayson (Tracy), and Heather Wilson (Robert); caring sister of Dudley Coombs, Diane Miller (Tim) and Judy Owen; doting grandmother of Kaitlin, Eamonn, Chet, Sam and Owen. Generous aunt and steadfast friend to many. Services will be private. Sign the family guestbook at . In lieu of flowers contributions in her memory made be made to Channel 26-WETA.

Cedar Rapids Gazette item

Posted: Thu Jul 10, 2008 12:51 am
by Kent
(original here)

Coombs, Janet Dee

CEDAR RAPIDS - Janet Dee Coombs, of Centreville, Va., formerly of Cedar Rapids, passed away Monday, June 2, 2008, after a courageous battle with cancer. Memorial services were held at The Plantation/Tavern Room next to George Washington's home in Mount Vernon, Va. Burial services will be held at Cedar Memorial Park Cemetery in Cedar Rapids at a later date.

Janet is survived by her children: Brian (Sarah) Wayson, and grandsons, Chet and Owen, of Portland, Ore.; Kent (Tracy) Wayson, and grandchildren, Kaitlin and Eammon, of Milwaukee, Wis.; and Heather (Robert) Wilson, and grandson, Sam, of Centreville, Va.; brother, J. Dudley Coombs Jr. of Aitkin, Minn.; and her sisters, Jo Diane (Tim) Miller of Lisbon and Judy Owen of Las Vegas.

She is also survived by her ex-husband, Billy Wayson and wife Gail of Gordonsville, Va.; plus her aunts, uncle, cousins, nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews. Jan is also survived by her namesake, great-niece Janet Marie Coombs of Grand Junction, Colo. She also leaves her very special friends, Doreen, Anita, Brenda, Bernadette, Donna Wilson, Kris, and Katie of Virginia, and Nancy and Dick Floyd of Arizona.

Janet was born Aug. 7, 1943, and was a 1961 graduate of Jefferson High School. Janet was preceded in death by her parents, Jo and John Coombs of Cedar Rapids.

Jan was an outstanding secretary/administrative assistant for several law firms in the Washington, D.C., area. Jan loved to gather friends and family for dinner parties and set a beautiful table. She devoured novels, was a talented interior designer, relied on for her vast knowledge of the D.C. area, and loved the arts, especially attending performances at the Kennedy Center. Jan was also a reader of names at the dedication of the Vietnam Wall in Washington.

Most of all, we will miss her constant love, thoughtfulness, style and sense of humor.

Memorials can be directed to Dr. Heather Wilson, 6854 Drifton Ct., Centreville, VA 20121.

Please sign the family guest book at

Re: In Memorium: Janet D. Coombs

Posted: Wed Sep 24, 2008 5:50 am
by Anita
This is a poem that Anita wanted to read at the service, but forget to bring with her. She sent it to me in the mail, so I can copying it here to share it with everyone. - Kent

From: Many Winters
by Nancy Wood

Today is a very good day to die.
Every living thing is in harmony with me.
Every voice sings a chorus within me.
All beauty has come to rest in my eyes.
All bad things have departed from me.
Today is a very good day to die.
My land is peaceful around me.
My fields have been turned for the last time.
My house is filled with laughter.
My children have come home.
Yes, today is a very good day to die.

Re: In Memorium: Janet D. Coombs

Posted: Sat Oct 25, 2008 5:58 am
by Kent
This is the poem I will be reading at the service in Cedar Rapids on Saturday, October 18.

Dirge Without Music
by Edna St. Vincent Millay.

I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned
With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.
Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
A formula, a phrase remains — but the best is lost.
The answers quick and keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love,
They are gone. They have gone to feed the roses. Elegant and curled
Is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom. I know. But I do not approve.
More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.
Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.

Re: In Memorium: Janet D. Coombs

Posted: Sat Mar 28, 2009 12:52 am
by Kent
Due to spammers, I have turned off unregistered posting in this forum. If you want to add something, either register for an account or let me know and I'll get it posted.

Re: In Memorium: Janet D. Coombs

Posted: Wed Jun 03, 2009 9:17 am
by Sally
I think of Jan often, and the influence she had on me as a young woman, nurse, and beyond.

Recently I took an Eagle Tour along the Potomac w/a friend, travelling along the waters and viewing gorgeous birds as we moved along. It was a beautiful, sunny Spring day, the trip's highlight was stopping at the foot of Mt Vernon. My thoughts of Jan poured over me with sweet memories.

On many occasions I have spoken to friends of Jan's late night trips to Washington to "talk to Abe" at the Lincoln Memorial, to help her get through tough times. It's one of my favorite memories of her and her love for American history and the joy of living in this area.

(forwarded via email; posted by Kent; from Sally Gilbert Cramer)

Am I Worthy?

Posted: Sat Nov 07, 2009 9:23 pm
by Kent
Am I Worthy?

To see a bird soar off into the azure sky,
The petals of a rose slowly open,
Glistening dew on a velvet lawn
The glorious break of dawn;
The precise, intricate details of nature unfold
While half the world ignorantly lies in a blissful slumber,
I give a startled cry and ask,
Am I worthy?

A steady rhythm of a summer's shower,
The fresh whiteness of the galaxies against the pitch darnkess of the night,
The colorful leaves in their autumn tones,
The perfection of each soft, delicate snowflake,
Rugged mountain peaks reaching toward the sky,
The tall stateliness of the trees,
A soft, tender cry from a babe so young and small
I pause, and with wonder and speculation ask,
Am I worthy?

Worthy to see and behond
All the delicacies of the world,
Every fact, every detail, every mystery,
Each so perfected, so essential, so exquisite?
All of these He has given us,
Not just for me, but for you, the world, the universe.
In awe and admiration of all this,
With bowed head I ask Him
To make me worthy!

- Jan Coombs, 1961

(found Mom's old high school literary magazine in a drawer tonight; she had this poem in the magazine and Dad was one of the staff members)

A Facebook exchange

Posted: Thu Mar 04, 2010 8:15 am
by Kent
Kris: Swatches arrived. Trying to divine which one Jan would choose.

Kent: Swatches for what? Do we need to have a séance? :)

Kris: Drapes! Time to replace the ones I made about, oh, 15 years ago. She'd know what I was going for, and whether any of the swatches -- which aren't quite what I was imagining -- would work. And how to tell me my original idea is ludicrous anyway, all without making me feel like an idiot. I miss her.

Another Facebook posting

Posted: Thu Jun 03, 2010 7:45 am
by Kent
Michael De La Fleur:

One my my earliest memories ever is of your Mom, Brian - around age 2 or 3. She was babysitting...she told me to go in my room and take a nap and not to leave....I took her literally and didn't leave the room and went potty on the floor. I thought she'd kill me but she was so nice, I remember thinking "what a nice lady".....