Janet Theis Holcombe, wife, mother and civic leader, died peacefully at her residence in Pawhuska, Oklahoma on January 8, 2013. A lifelong resident of Pawhuska and Osage County, Janet was born June 4, 1935, in Pawhuska. Janet was the middle of the three children of Virgil Erskine Theis, the last Justice of the Peace for Pawhuska, and Jessie Mae Theis, a long-time teacher in the Pawhuska School System.
Janet received her secondary education in Pawhuska's public schools except for the final two years at The Hockaday School in Dallas, Texas where she graduated in 1953. She subsequently attended the University of Oklahoma where she was initiated into the Tri Delta Sorority. An automobile accident during her sophomore year cut short her college studies. Janet worked at her father's credit bureau in Pawhuska until marrying M. Lee Holcombe on August 18, 1956 in Pawhuska. The couple resided in Stillwater during the completion of Lee's Animal Husbandry studies at Oklahoma A&M, lived in Kentucky and Georgia during Lee's post-ROTC military service, and then in northern Osage County and Pawhuska in support of her husband's cattle ranching career. During the 60's and 70's Lee and Janet raised three sons: Steve, an attorney, Joe, a banker, and Scot, a cattle rancher. She was active in the Osage County Cattlemen's and Cattlewomen's Association and served as President of the Oklahoma Cowbelles Association in 1973. She was a caseworker for the Oklahoma Department of Human Services during the early 1970's.
In the 1980's Janet began devoting her time, energy and efforts to the betterment and revitalization of downtown Pawhuska. Janet was an instrumental force in the creation of the Pawhuska Downtown Revitalization and Preservation Association, a non-profit corporation formed for the purpose of preserving the heritage of the Pawhuska central business historic district and the community's historic residential area. As the association's President she was instrumental in Pawhuska being named by the State of Oklahoma as a Main Street City in 1987.
The Constantine-Kihekah Theater in downtown Pawhuska, which was in a state of decay and destruction by neglect in the 1980's, was undertaken as a personal project by Janet and through her efforts and fund raising the theater was restored as a viable and historical structure. She was also instrumental in the formation of the Community Arts Council Trust Authority formed as a public trust to continue the restoration and management of the theater. By motion of Senator John L. Dahl the Oklahoma State Senate extended to Janet Theis Holcombe a Citation of Congratulations in 1989 for the restoration of the theater.
Janet was a Pawhuska City Council member from 1987 to 1990. She served as Mayor of Pawhuska from 1989 to 1990. Janet received the Good Citizen Award from the Pawhuska Chamber of Commerce for the years of 1984, 1986, 1987. In recognition of Janet's community service the City of Pawhuska did in 1990 resolve that the Bandstand at the Lynn Avenue Park be known as the "Janet Theis Holcombe Community Bandstand".
Janet was also very proud to serve as an executive secretary to the engineers of the Yokogawa Corporation of America in Bartlesville for over a decade, retiring in 2000. Janet also served on the Governing Board of the Pawhuska Hospital, Inc. from 2002 – 2007. She was an active and life-long member of the First Presbyterian Church of Pawhuska, serving as an Elder and sharing her vocal talents in the church's choir.
Janet is survived by her husband, M. Lee Holcombe, Steve and Susie Holcombe of Stillwater, Oklahoma, Joe and Kathy Holcombe of Birmingham, Alabama, and Scot and Kim Holcombe, of Bartlesville, Oklahoma. There are four grandchildren including Erin Holcombe and Blake Holcombe of Bartlesville, Oklahoma and Jeffrey and Emily Holcombe of Birmingham, Alabama. Her younger sister, Luanne Copeland (and husband, Will), of Bartlesville also survives. Janet's older brother, Joe Virgil Theis, is previously deceased. She loved Pawhuska. She loved Osage County.
A memorial service celebrating Janet's life will be held Friday, January 11, 1:30 PM, at the Constantine Center of Pawhuska. Rev. Ken Woodhams will officiate.
McCartney's Johnson Funeral Home in charge of arrangements.