Janet HennessyJanet Hennessy was born Helen Janet Nelson on March 21, 1933. Born in a modest home in Lutsen, Minn., she was the third child of Harold and Helen Nelson.
Janet Hennessy was born Helen Janet Nelson on March 21, 1933. Born in a modest home in Lutsen, Minn., she was the third child of Harold and Helen Nelson.
Janet began first grade at the Lutsen School with two classmates. She finished her schooling there in eighth grade, and went on to complete her high school education in Grand Marais, Minn.
Janet was very active in high school as a cheerleader for the Cook county Vikings, Choir member, Homecoming Queen, Winter Snow Queen, and becoming the first Miss North Shore. She was also a very avid and accomplished skier. In her early adult years, she did some racing, and ultimately became the first certified female ski instructor in the Central United States Ski Association. Skiing became one of Janet’s life passions.
Her other life passion was teaching. Janet graduated from the University of Minnesota Duluth in 1955, and then went on to teach in Drummond, Wis. and Tofte, Minn. Then, after taking several years away from teaching to raise her three kids, Janet moved on to Northwood School of Minong, Wis. where she coached and taught for 29 years, starting in 1977. There, she was named to the school’s teaching ‘Wall of Fame’, and was so proud and honored to be part of Northwood School.
It was this move to the Minong community that lead to Janet meeting the love of her life, Fred Hennessy, Janet a Viking fan married Fred a Packer fan in 1984, and it worked. The subsequent years were full of love and adventure. Janet loved all of her trips and adventures, but she also loved simply being with Fred at their home outside Gordon, which Janet affectionately dubbed ‘Walnuts Mountain’. There, with Fred, Janet enjoyed hosting scores of friends and family. And, of course, high-lights included visits from her grandkids.
If you knew Janet, you admired her. If you knew her well, you loved her. She will be deeply missed, but the way she lived her life is an inspiration for those that grieve her loss.
Janet was preceded in death by her parents, Harold Nelson and Helen Olsen Nelson. Also preceded in death by infant brother, Russel, brother Lloyd (Betty) Nelson, and sister Gladys Nelson Eckel; one niece, Lisa Nelson; and four nephews, Mark Eckel, Guy Nelson, Greg Eckel, and Todd Nelson.
Janet is survived by loving husband, Fred Hennessy. Also by daughters Jill (Steve) Hendershot of Arizona, and Jayn (David) Knudsen of Minnesota; and by son Jay (Karla) Anderson of Minnesota; also by four grandchildren, Kirsten Anderson, Guy Anderson, Jason Anderson, and Kendra Knudsen, all of Minnesota. In addition, Janet is survived by many loving nieces and nephews, and great-nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be held two hours prior to a celebration of Janet’s life at 12 Noon Saturday, June 8 at Our Saviors Lutheran Church in Solon Springs. Rev. Nathan Winterhof will officiate.
A memorial interment is planned for Saturday August 3 in Lutsen, Minn.
In lieu of flowers, please consider memorials to The Hennessy Softball Scholarship at Northwood School, Minong, Wisconsin; the Kidney Foundation; and/or the American Heart Association.