Janet Jamison Corson
April 7, 1938 - January 26, 2018
Life ended for this unique and beloved woman in the early hours at Jacksonville Home Care, her residence of the last four years.
Janet was widely known in the community and well beyond, a result of her many activities and years of community service. She was an active member of the Jackson County Medical Auxiliary and served as president in 1983-84. She was state president of Oregon State Medical Auxiliary in 1988-89. Obligations in her home community precluded her from accepting a national nomination for president of the AMA Auxiliary. Previously, in 1981, Janet had been an original founding member of a group of volunteers that became SODA (Southern Oregon Drug Awareness). She became program director in 1986 and from 1991-97 was executive director. Janet had been a member of Rotary, Southern Oregon Historical Society, and served on the Britt Festival Board.
The recognition and rewards bestowed upon her were extensive, and probably began with the arrival of Air Force One at Medford Airport in 1989. President George H. W. Bush had come to Medford to meet Janet and a second local woman to present them each a Point of Light Award for their community service. Prior to this, Janet had been invited to the White House to have tea with First Lady Nancy Reagan. Notable other honors included being named Zonta Woman of the Year 1989, the prestigious ASV Carpenter Award in 1991, and Soroptimist International of Rogue Valley named her Woman of Distinction 1993. She also received certificates of commendation for community service from the Jackson County Board of Commissioners and the Medford School Board.
The traits and accomplishments she would most want to be remembered for would include being a consummate mother and grandmother, as well as a truly superb cook and homemaker. She was famous for Christmas gatherings for women and medical families.
Janet was born in Eugene, Oregon, the first child of Wayne H. and Gladys Warner Jamison. Her childhood was spent there throughout early grade school. Her family moved to Medford shortly after WWII ended. She attended Roosevelt School, McLoughlin Junior High and graduated in June 1956 from Medford High School. Music was a major interest in school, and she led a youth choir at her church and sang solos at friends’ weddings. She was also a Medford High School cheerleader, and her husband was proud of his unique status as an ex-Grants Pass football player who married one of those ‘cute Medford cheerleaders!’
Janet entered Willamette University in September 1956 on a music scholarship. In her first two weeks there, she met her future husband at a Pi Beta Phi – Sigma Chi mixer for new pledges. She subsequently transferred to the University of Oregon after two years when she became interested in teaching young children rather than pursuing a formal music education.
Janet married John S. Corson March 20, 1960 at the First Presbyterian Church in Medford. She graduated from the University of Oregon in June 1960 and began her first teaching job in Northeast Portland in September. This required a very long daily commute from the medical school hill in Southwest Portland where she and her husband lived. She subsequently taught first grade at six schools in three states as she followed her husband during his medical education, surgical training, and military service.
Janet’s husband decided that Medford was the best place for him to practice orthopedic surgery, so they returned to Medford in July 1971 with a young family, a son and two daughters. A third daughter was born June 30, 1974. Motherhood and a full social life with many friends followed in the next two decades, in addition to her many community activities.
Life took a tragic turn for Janet and her family June 27, 1997, when Sarah, the youngest daughter, was a homicide victim in Tokyo. Grief and depression profoundly impacted Janet's life for many years. Subsequently, she became active in The Compassionate Friends, ultimately becoming a leader in the organization and devoting much of her time in helping other parents who had lost children.
Janet’s final project of note was her effort in creating the Sarah Corson Child Care and Learning Center at the First Presbyterian Church in Medford.
Janet is survived by a son, Bruce of Anchorage, Alaska; daughters, Elizabeth Swanson of Seattle, Washington, and Catherine Davis (Brett) of Salem, Ore.; three granddaughters, Madeline and Isabelle Swanson of Seattle and Mallory Davis, a law student at Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.; and three grandsons, Corson Davis, Southern Oregon University, and Landon and Hudson Davis, student athletes in Salem, Ore.
The family is planning a Celebration of Life honoring Janet Saturday, May 12, 2018 at 2 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church in Medford. In lieu of flowers, donations to The Compassionate Friends Rogue Valley Chapter, 150 Medical Center Drive, Medford, OR 97504, would be appreciated.