Janette Cole Fisher, 89, passed away from complications due to leukemia on Thursday, September 16, 2021 at Grace Assisted Living in Boise, Idaho, and under the care of Encompass Hospice. Several of her family members had been to visit her that day and found her sleeping peacefully, ready to go to her heavenly home. Her sweet friend, Nora Olaso, was there to hold her hand until her last breath.
Janette was born on May 31, 1932 in Payson, Utah, to her parents Conway Duncan Cole and Kathryn Fillmore Cole. She was the oldest of her brothers and sisters: Roger, Charles, Sherry, John, Steve and Verla. When she was a child, her father owned his own jewelry and watch repair business, so their family traveled around during the summers to the small Utah towns of Blanding, Moab and Monticello – areas that did not have those amenities during the Great Depression. To be closer to other family members, the Cole family moved to Payette, Idaho, and remained there throughout their children’s school years and beyond.
At Payette High School Janette enjoyed singing soprano in choir, graduating in 1950. In her later years she still looked forward to the small-town high school reunions to renew acquaintances from so many years past. Some of her early jobs included babysitter, farm worker, cherry picker, soda jerk and car hop.
Janette was swept off her feet by a much older, debonair man who was also a WWII veteran – William Henry Fisher during the time they both were working at Farber’s Department Store in Payette. Bill and Janette married in Weiser on August 12, 1951. Due to the nature of her husband’s department store career, they moved around to different towns. They had their first child in Pocatello, Idaho – William Cole. They sold their car to pay for the hospital bill and walked around town proudly pushing the baby carriage instead. They moved to Ogden, Utah where second son, Michael Paul was born. Four more children were added to the family after they moved to Buhl, Idaho: Barbara Colette, Mark Steven, Caroline and Jon Scott – all born in the nearby Twin Falls Hospital. Shortly after moving their family to Longmont, Colorado, their youngest son, Jon Scott was involved in a drowning accident close to their new home. It was a devastating experience for their entire family and within ten months they moved to Boise, Idaho, to be closer to family.
During their time in Buhl, Janette agreed to work for her husband at the short-staffed department store. She continued her retail career for the next 30 years, serving customers at the Merc in Buhl, JCPenney’s in Longmont and downtown Boise and CR Anthony’s and the Emporium, both located on Overland Road in Boise. She enjoyed teaching vocational sewing classes for JCPenney’s for their education department.
In 1968, the family settled in Boise, Idaho, which became the family home for 53 years, up until a few months before Janette’s passing. Their children and spouses enjoyed many Sunday dinners at the home on Sunnybrook, served up with love and seconds and followed by delicious homemade pies. A family recipe for applesauce cake was also a favorite during the holidays and was served as groom’s cakes for wedding receptions. Janette kept her heart full along with her cookie jar and later her candy jars for her visitors. She enjoyed decorating and took much pride in her home and yard.
Janette was quite a seamstress. Always sewing, she made shirts for her boys and dresses for her girls. Every year her mother announced that it must now be Spring because Janette had just made a new yellow dress for herself. She loved yellow as it reminded her of sunshine and happiness.
When all three of her older children married within 10 weeks, she sewed 14 dresses, including her daughter Barbara’s wedding dress. It was a feat that surely dazzled others and Janette still managed to look stunning in all the wedding photos!
During the 80s & 90s, Janette hung wallpaper for clients to supplement her income and fulfill her artistic endeavors. Her first partner was her sister-in-law, Nellie, for a short time. Then she took on a new partner – her daughter-in-law, Judy, for nine years. They worked for contractors who built prestigious parade homes and also for sweet grandmas redecorating small kitchens and bathrooms. Janette felt rewarded making others happy by brightening up their little corners of the world.
Her husband of 39 years and father of their six children, William Henry Fisher, passed away on September 16,1990. A while later, Janette married a longtime family friend, John “Jack” Wortendyke on December 28,1991 in Boise, Idaho. He had a beach house in Los Ayala, Nayarit, Mexico, and that calm setting by the ocean provided much healing for the losses in her life during their years together until his passing August 12, 1997. Many family members and friends enjoyed Janette’s hospitality at the beach house.
Janette later married Homer Millard on September 11, 2000 in Reno, Nevada. They invited her son Michael to build them a cabin up in the Boise mountains. Janette always wanted to live in a cabin and since Homer was a Mountain Man, she was able to fulfill that dream for both of them. After 16 years of marriage, Homer passed away on April 21, 2016. Janette lived life on her own for the next five-plus years until health concerns prompted her to choose Grace Assisted Living for her last few months.
Friends and acquaintances remember Janette as being a generous soul. Her younger brothers and sisters, whom she dearly loved, still remember how caring she was to provide Christmases for their large struggling family once she had left home. Her three husbands were all blessed by her loving care in their elder years. Also, she opened her home to several family members who needed a place to stay and regroup. She was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Her favorite calling was teaching the gospel to various age groups. Their family was sealed in the Idaho Falls Temple in 1962, which always brought comfort and joy to her.
The last six years have been especially difficult for Janette with the loss of her son Mark and daughter Caroline, along with her own personal struggle with leukemia. Many were impressed with the way Janette handled such adversities in her life, always relying on her strong faith, strong will and strong determination. She once admitted that she could not cry anymore because all her tears were cried out when her first child passed away. Even with such hardships, Janette maintained a positive attitude and optimistic outlook, leaving a legacy of strength and resilience as an example for her posterity.
Janette was preceded in death by parents Conway & Kathryn Cole, son Jon Scott, husband William Henry Fisher, son Mark Steven Fisher, daughter Caroline Brown; brother Roger Cole, nephew Joe Caldwell, sister-in-law Marla Cole and brother-in-law Grant Gardner. Also preceded in death by second husband John “Jack” Wortendyke and third husband, Homer Millard.
She is survived by her three children, William (Judy) Fisher, Michael (Stacy) Fisher, and Barbara (Chuck) Faylor, and daughter-in-law Rebecca (Craig) Hosking, and her 20 grandchildren & 48 great-grandchildren: William Ryan (Angela & Will) Fisher, Brandan (Janette & Cohen, Lily, Gavin) Fisher, Hailey (Curtis & Kit, Henry, James) Christiansen, Kelsey Fisher; Amy Jo (Kevin & Dax, Trev, Boe Hartvigsen) Hadlock, Natalie (Cameron & Kylie, Bronson, Cecily, Armanie, Tenley, Indy, Satori) Wright, Lindsay (Christopher & Ben, Abby, Lilly, Sam) Evensen, Scott Fisher, Chuck (Sausha & Hallee, Mac, Beckham, Maddie) Fisher; Tiffany Faylor (Ainsley, Aidan, Logan Forth), Derek (Kami & Jack, Emily) Faylor, Steven (Kendra & Bradley, Bentley, Bailey, Brinley) Faylor, Michael Faylor; Rachel (Brett & Boston, Peyton, Lincoln, London) Sundberg, Kyler (Madison & Taytum, Oakley, Halston, Oliver) Fisher, Jordan Fisher, Braden (Lauren) Fisher; Katie (Grant & Audrie, Blake, Natalie, Lynzie) Turley, Jenni (Ryan & Averi, Gavin) Dart, and Jacob Brown. Also survived by sister-in-law Nellie Cole, brothers Charles Cole, John (Vell) Cole, Steve (Anita Garcia) Cole, and sisters Sherry (Rod) Hogland and Verla Gardner, along with many nieces and nephews.
Services under the direction of Relyea Funeral Chapel with a graveside service planned at Rosedale Memorial Gardens Cemetery, 10350 Iowa Avenue, Payette, Idaho, on Monday, September 27, 2021 at noon.
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