Traverse City Record-Eagle
---- — FRANKFORT — Janet E. Harwood, age 74, a resident of Crystal Lake Township, and formerly of Plymouth, Mich., died on Sept. 1, 2013, with her devoted husband of 27 years, Bruce Harwood, at her side.
Janet was born on June 18, 1939, in Lincoln Park, daughter of Roy and Viola Holcombe. She graduated from Holy Redeemer High School in 1957, and went on to sing professionally as a Big Band singer until her mid-20s. Think of Rosemary Clooney or Lena Horne. When she stopped singing professionally, she kept up with her love of music by being active in her church choir and community theater groups. She sang at hundreds of weddings and funerals throughout the Detroit Area and Benzie County. She touched many lives through her music, kind heart, gentle nature, and loving spirit. She made the world a better place.
She eventually raised three sons in Plymouth, who have blessed her with many grandchildren. Janet was very active in the community, including serving as the lead cantor at Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Church gracing the congregation with her voice every Sunday. She also served as the president of the Plymouth Arts Council, and volunteered in many community organizations. She was a remarkable person, who started The Plymouth Fitness Center for Women, before fitness clubs catering to women were commonplace. She has always been drawn to people and helping others.
In 1986, Janet and Bruce married in Plymouth. A couple of years later they retired to Crystal Lake Township, living in the beautiful home they built overlooking Lake Michigan and Frankfort. Janet continued to be active in the church (Saint Ann), in theater, and in real estate; she was a leading real estate agent at Coldwell Banker. During their 27 year marriage, Janet and Bruce were loving companions who enjoyed traveling and sailing the Great Lakes, including Lake Superior, the North Channel, Soo Locks, Green Bay, Wis., and the Manitou Islands. Janet was a faithful first-mate, who loved being by Bruce’s side. She also enjoyed feeding the numerous animals, including deer, turkey, squirrels, hummingbirds, and God’s other creatures, which frequented their safe haven.
For over eight years Janet survived breast cancer, with courage, grace, and dignity. She often remarked that she “had cancer, but cancer did not have her.” As a cancer survivor and inspiration for family and friends, she was honored by being profiled in the 2013 Pink Party Yearbook. In her final days, Janet mentioned she could not imagine living any place else, and that she had everything in the world she needed including, but not limited to, the love of her life (Bruce), her faithful dog “Tramp,” seven children, 22 grandchildren, one great grandchild, and countless friends.
Janet is survived by her loving husband Bruce; children Gregory Gattoni, Todd (Julia) Gattoni, Marc (Dawn) Gattoni; stepchildren Bruce (Penny) Harwood, Tim (Robin) Harwood, Michael Harwood, and Don (Brigette) Harwood; 22 grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. She is also survived by her sister Doreen (Stoch) Monczki, and brother Dennis (Karen) Holcombe of Gilmore Township. She was preceded in death by her sister Linda Sovie.
Janet passed peacefully on a beautiful Sunday morning — reassuring family that God needed her soprano voice in Heaven. Her beautiful song ... and spirit, will last forever.
In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully requests contributions be made in Janet’s name to Munson Hospital Hospice. A visitation will be held from 5 to 8 p.m., on Friday, Sept. 6, 2013, (7:30 Vigil service) at the Jowett Family Funeral Home in Benzonia. A funeral Mass will be celebrated on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013, with 9 a.m. viewing and 10 a.m. mass at St. Ann Catholic Church in Frankfort. Burial will be in Crystal Lake Community Cemetery East. Arrangements by Jowett Family Funeral Homes & Cremation Service.