Janet Estelle Lecompte

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Janet Estelle Lecompte, 86, a former longtime resident Colorado Springs, died February 28 at the Newton-Wellesley Alzheimer's Center in Wellesley, Mass. She was a research historian and writer, authoring four books and hundreds of articles on the history and culture of the American Southwest. She also was active in numerous cultural and civic affairs in the city and state. Born Janet Estelle Shaw in Philadelphia on May 22, 1923, she grew up in Denver, Colo. She majored in English major at Wellesley College, and first got involved writing history when her mother, Dorothy Price Shaw, enlisted her help in turning raw notes compiled on some of the Colorado's early settlers into historically correct profiles. The notes were part of the collection of the Pioneers Museum in Colorado Springs, an institution founded by Janet's grandmother Maude McFerran Price, one of the city's original citizens. Her first book, "Pueblo, Hardscrabble and Greenhorn", was published in 1978 and won both the 1978 Westerners' International Award for best non-fiction book, and the 1978 Western Writers of America Golden Spur Award for best non-fiction book. Books that followed included "Rebellion in Rio Arriba" (1985), Emily: "The Diary of a Hard-worked Woman" (1987) and "French Fur Traders and Voyagers in American West," with LeRoy Hafen (1995). She was a longtime member of the Colorado Historical Society and served on its board. In addition to her research and writing, Lecompte was active in numerous cultural and civic affairs in the city and state. She was instrumental in the 1961 founding of the Colorado Springs School for Girls (now simply the Colorado Springs School), the city's first independent private school for girls (the school is now a coeducational pre-kindergarten through high school college preparatory school). She moved to Moscow, Idaho, in 1988, where she resided until 2004. In Moscow, she continued to write and became active in various civic and cultural organizations. Survivors include daughters Jane LeCompte Anderson of Berthoud, Colo. and Ellen LeCompte, of Lawrence, Kan.; and sons, Charles LeCompte, of Brookline, Mass., Tom LeCompte of Sharon, Mass. and Peter LeCompte, of Bellingham, Wash., granddaughters Louisa and Melissa Hartley and Molly LeCompte, grandsons Calvin and Christopher LeCompte, and great-grandsons Colin and Lucas Campbell. Services will be announced later. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to one of Lecompte's local causes.

Published in The Gazette on Mar. 4, 2010