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Janet Strutt Hart


1935 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Janet Strutt Hart Obituary
Jan passed away quietly at home in Tustin on January 12.

Her life was driven by love of family and friends, so it’s worth remembering how the family landed in Jan's beloved Pasadena. Charles Strutt and Florence Twigg were married in Bristol, England, 1904, and soon immigrated with infant son Chuck to Winnipeg, Canada. The family expanded with Rene, Eric, Roy, and Bob, and in 1922 the seven Strutts made the move to sunny California to join family and friends in Long Beach. But while passing through Pasadena they decided to stay, and Charles opened the Sunshine Sweet Shop. Chuck married Margaret Nobel, and Janet Louise Strutt was born on March 15, 1935 in Pasadena. Brother Charlie followed in 1944.

In 1946 Chuck was president of the Tournament of Roses, and in following years the family regularly gathered in Pasadena for all-day New Year’s celebrations. The 2000’s saw fewer New Year’s trips to Orange Grove Blvd., but the Rose Parade (and red roses) remained beloved symbols of family pride. Jan was just an eighth grader at Eliot Junior High School when her father died of a heart attack. Extended family in Pasadena was ever-present, and in later years Jan never missed an opportunity to call out her Aunt Rene and uncles Bob, Eric and Roy for their unwavering love and support during these difficult times.

Jan enrolled at John Muir College where she was active in student government, and went on to UCLA where she pledged Alpha Gamma Delta sorority and earned a BA in English. A mutual friend arranged a blind date with a fellow Muir graduate and USC dental student, Parker Hart. They were soon married and Parker was wrapped in the love and laughter of the Strutt Family. In 1959 they chose Santa Ana as the place to begin his private dental practice and settled in Tustin. Son Wayne was born in 1963, daughter Dana in 1966.

Jan applied her breadth of knowledge to a range of projects and assignments. While Parker served in the Navy in San Diego, she enrolled in graduate studies in Victorian Literature at San Diego State. Later she was a social worker in Los Angeles, took administrative positions at UCI Medical Center and Planned Parenthood, and managed alumni relations at Southern California College of Optometry.

Both Wayne and Dana ran cross country at Tustin High and Jan organized an annual summer trip to Big Bear Lake for a week of high-altitude training, a team tradition that endured for years to follow. She also volunteered for the Orange County Dental Society and was a longtime supporter of Serving People In Need (S.P.I.N.). Perhaps driven by her own trying times during middle school, Jan took special satisfaction in the Assistance League where, among other projects, she helped distribute new school uniforms and supply kits to needy students.

Jan’s love of family spanned time zones. She was a tireless communicator with extended family in England and took trips to London, Bristol, and Portishead. The most recent visit included Dana, daughter-in-law Andrea, and grandchildren Madison and Julia. She and Parker also embarked on long-planned trips to Europe, Russia, and Vietnam.

It takes some nerve but we’ll say it anyway: Jan was a form of Google before there was such a thing. No, she could not recite atomic weights or random historical dates. But as a voracious reader Jan had a sense of connectivity that, more often than not, either gave her the correct answer or directed her to the best resource to find the answer. She consumed a dizzying array of books and media. Admittedly, this could drive extended story telling with equally dizzying detours and off-ramps, but she always managed to hit the punchline. She was also a committed letter writer, and seemed to find just the right card for the occasion. In recent years Jan quickly learned social media and put it to its intended use: keeping in touch. Storytelling, letter writing and emails focused on the interests of the audience, and in turn she was an exceptional listener. These special skills endeared Jan to family and friends.

Predeceased by her husband Parker and brother Charlie, Jan is survived by son Wayne Allen Hart (wife Andrea Murphy) of Long Beach, daughter Dana Margaret Lindley (husband David) of Manhattan Beach, granddaughters Madison Elizabeth Lindley and Julia Emily Hart, grandsons Jacob Parker Hart and Matthew David Lindley, extended family and friends.

Thank you for helping to honor a loving and thoughtful wife, mother, grandmother, cousin, and friend. Jan left us too soon, but we take solace that she is reunited with her dear Parker, beloved family and friends, and a really, really good book store.

Celebration of Life will be Saturday, February 10th at 11:00am at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 1221 Wass Street in Tustin.
Published in San Gabriel Valley Tribune on Feb. 4, 2018
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