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Obituary for Janet K. Smith

May 16, 1946 – Apr 21, 2023

Janet K. Smith (nee: Olsen), age 76, received her angel wings when she passed at her home on Friday, April 21, 2023.

Janet K. Smith
Janet K. Smith

She was born on May 16, 1946, and was a lifelong resident of Racine, Wis. A true Dane through and through, her spritz and pecan dream cookie recipes still hold top title, as do her delicious scones. Janet was the first of seven children to the late Remore (nee: Nielsen) and Donald Olsen. Her childhood memories still live on via happy tales from many a sister or brother at the annual Olsen Christmas party.

Janet graduated from Washington Park High School in 1964 and obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Education from Dominican College in 1969. She was the first in her immediate family to attend college. She started her career teaching first grade at Goodland School and later transitioned to teaching third grade there. She met her lifelong bridge group friends during her second year of teaching. The close-knit friends continue to eat popcorn, play bridge and travel to Door County every year. I am certain they will still do the same above.

Janet was a member of Faithbridge Church in Franksville. She enjoyed attending church services and meeting new friends along the way. Her faith guided her daily life. You were always in her prayers.

She would never miss a chance to send a hand-made (and stamped) birthday, anniversary, or “just because” card. She was an avid reader and birdwatcher. Her home recipes – from soups to spaghetti – and willingness to cook for and serve others will always be remembered. She had a sense of adventure and never missed a chance to travel, both near and far: to London, France, Denmark and Australia with her daughter and son-in-law, or to Lake Geneva, Chicago, Michigan or Disney World with her sister-in-law, always her partner in crime.

In recent years, she warmed up to technology and enjoyed chats on social media with friends and family, giving encouraging posts on pictures and videos, weekly Zoom Bible study groups, and near-constant delight from music via Alexa. She also kept a digital picture frame in the kitchen loaded with past and present pictures of family and friends.

Her lifelong devotion, however, was to her family and children. A matriarch eldest sister; caring daughter; loyal wife; loving mother; and ever-present grandmother to five precious grandchildren. Her everlasting love was sealed as she cradled her newborn grand babies for countless hours and later cherished them for years to come. Her patience, dedication and willingness to sacrifice her own time for her children was undoubtedly her greatest treasure.

Janet was the calm, quiet and positive presence at any family gathering, humming a tune and always putting others first. She was consistently the one there for you, no questions asked. She will be deeply missed with the fondest of memories, her sweet voice always in our ears.

Janet is survived by her steadfast husband of 54 years, Gary Smith; children, Megan (Alex) King, and Benjamin (Kelly) Smith; five precious grandchildren: Nicholas, Jonathan, Katherine, and twins, Ella and Jacob; four sisters and one brother: Cynthia Lieungh, Carrie (David) Zuehlke, Julia (Michael) Masik, Joanne (Richard) King, and Warren Mark (Karen) Olsen (twin of deceased brother, Donald Olsen), sisters-in-law, Deborah (John) Dana, and Kathleen (David) Draeger, as well as numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends. You see, it didn’t matter who you were when it came to Janet: she was always the first to ask how you are doing, and welcome you in with open arms.

Janet was preceded in death by her parents; brother, Donald Scott Olsen; father-in-law, Walter Smith; and mother-in-law, Florence Smith; as well as several dear friends.


A memorial visitation is planned to celebrate Janet’s life on Friday, April 28, from 10-11 a.m. at Faithbridge Church,10402 Northwestern Ave., Franksville, WI 53126. A private service will follow.

Memorials are appreciated in Janet’s name to Faithbridge Church, which she also loved dearly.

Obituary and photo courtesy of Draeger-Langendorf Funeral Home.

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