Janet C. Mann
1937 ~ 2021
A great light has gone out of the universe. Sounds like a cliché, but as I contemplate my wife, my companion of the last 36 years, it is all true. Brilliant, talented, kind, loving, beautiful, Janet leaves behind son Steve (Janine) daughter Susan, bonus sons Justin (Angela) and Benjamin (Jen) and bonus daughter Sandy.
She also leaves behind husband, Michael Kalm and grandchildren, Nick, Nathan (Hayley), Eric, Lucas Mann; Beau, Caitlin and Allegra Imhoff; Matthew, Alex, Nathan and Lucas Kalm – and innumerable friends and students all of whose hearts she touched, all of whose souls she influenced.
Janet was a professor of music at the University of Utah. She not only founded the division of piano pedagogy, she was one of the true pioneers of her time.
Her heart was with Broadway music, and she starred in dozens of regional theaters from MUNI Opera in St. Louis, to Midland Michigan to HUCC here in Salt Lake City. When Janet sang "Not Since Ninevah" for Michael's family, Michael's Aunt Frieda's jaw dropped and she exclaimed, "Now THAT'S a voice that belongs on Broadway. Janet also starred in acapella groups and was the founder of "Serendipity," which has performed all over Salt Lake Valley.
Janet was a brilliant classical pianist as well, ranging in diverse composers from Beethoven to Brahms to Charles Ives, and of course to Chopin. When Janet and Michael put on their musical-psychiatric presentation on Chopin, from San Francisco to Minnesota, to Scottsdale, to Jacksonville, to the Sibelius Academy in Kuopia Finland, a learned European gentleman in the audience said, "I've heard Vladimir Horowitz play Chopin, but THIS is the way Chopin would want to be played. Son Justin recalls one of his great pleasures was going to bed at night, being soothed by the sounds of Chopin coming from the next room. He LOVED hearing her practice!
Janet took time out to accompany sons Justin in vocal music and Benjamin with the French horn and daughter Sandy on the flute. In fact, Janet has always been incredibly loving and generous to family, students and friends.
As if music was not enough, she was also a talented artist especially in watercolors, with an amazing eye for color and shading.
Janet has always to loved to travel and has visited over 100 countries, sometimes in very rough conditions. This was especially remarkable as severe scoliosis of her spine meant that she was frequently in severe pain which she toughed her way through.
Michael, who has never been a traditional religious believer, nonetheless takes heart in the wisdom of Jack Miles, editor of the Norton Anthology of Religion, who said, "It seems that we cannot know what life is until we know the entirety of what the universe is including dark matter, dark energy, the possibility of multiple universes where different physical laws obtain, [including multiple dimensions]. And certainly, we understand death as the deprivation of life. But if we don't really understand what life is, then we don't understand what the deprivation of life is. So that means that death itself, which is taken sometimes to be the one certainty, to me is not a certainty. It's a mystery, and as Rabelais (16th century Renaissance man) said in famous final words, 'je pars pour les grand peut-etre. I part for the great maybe.' I [too, will] leave this world for the great maybe."
My hopes rest in those words, that somewhere there is a great maybe where Janet's exquisitely beautiful soul continues to exist, to perceive and to be with us. I know for sure she remains in all of our hearts.
At a future date, to be determined, we will have a celebration of life for Janet. Arrangements are entrusted to Starks Funeral Parlor. Please share your memories and photos with her family at www.starksfuneral.com
P.S. Janet's death was caused by a sudden massive heart attack, exacerbated by a Covid infection with the Delta variant that broke through her vaccination. Please, please, get vaccinated and wear masks. Save your loved ones, and the loved ones of others.
Published by The Salt Lake Tribune from Aug. 25 to Sep. 4, 2021.