GILPATRICK, Janet Janet Gilpatrick, Spokane political strategist, feminist and mother, worked hard over decades to improve the community she loved. She died peacefully on Easter Sunday, three months after her 71st birthday. She was best known as the top Spokane aide to the late Rep. Thomas Foley, D-Spokane. Her most vivid political memory: seeing Foley sworn in as Speaker of the House of Representatives in 1990. After Foley and her husband, Dr. Thomas Gilpatrick, died on the same day on October 18, 2013, her health declined abruptly. She was born January 26, 1943 to Laura "Glorian" Rorhbach Majer and Donald E. Majer and grew up in Spokane, where she rode her horse as a child, attended Whitworth Elementary School and performed in the Ice Capades at 17. Her father owned a local Ford dealership. She graduated from St. George's School in 1960 in its second graduating class and attended Mills College. She married Allen Saari in 1964 and had a daughter, Dawn Saari. That marriage ended in divorce. She married Dr. Gilpatrick, a Spokane obstetrician-gynecologist, in 1973 and had a second daughter, Annie Gilpatrick. As feminism gained ground in the 1970s, she appeared on KSPS TV's Spokane Weekly to explain the women's movement, served on the local boards of Planned Parenthood and the National Organization of Women and was one of the initial organizers of Spokane's Rape Crisis Network. She served on many other boards, including the Spokane YWCA, Women Helping Women, the Mobius Science Center, Sirti, United Way, the Community Colleges of Spokane and the Spokane Housing Authority. After working on President Jimmy Carter's campaign staff, she joined Foley as a staff assistant in 1980. Four years later, she became his chief local representative, administering the Spokane office and serving as his regional liaison for constituents. After closing Foley's office in 1997 when he became U.S. ambassador to Japan, she worked for Rocky West and as a private consultant. She retired in 2002. She is survived by two younger brothers, Frank and Ernie Majer; her daughters Dawn Saari and Annie Gilpatrick; and three beloved granddaughters, Sophie Saari and twins Hannah and Laura Kapelke. A memorial service is scheduled May 14 at 5 p.m. at Hennessy Smith Funeral Home, 2203 N. Division. Bequests in her honor may be made to Women Helping Women or Planned Parenthood. Please visit Janet's on-line memorial page at www.hennesseyfuneralhomes.com to leave a message of remembrance.
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Hennessey-Smith Funeral Home
2203 N Division Street Spokane, WA 99207
Published in Spokesman-Review from May 7 to May 11, 2014