Guy W. Farmer: Janice Goodhue: She did it her way |

Guy W. Farmer: Janice Goodhue: She did it her way

Guy W. Farmer
For the Nevada Appeal

Frank Sinatra’s popular “I Did It My Way” could have been the theme song for my longtime friend Janice Goodhue, a remarkable woman and former Carson City resident who died June 8 at age 96. It was a bittersweet occasion last weekend when a few of us gathered at the home of Jim and Ann Roberts to celebrate Janice’s long and productive life.

I first met Janice and her husband, Nathaniel, in the mid-1960s when my late wife Consuelo and I fell in with a group of local artists and intellectuals that included the Goodhues, the Robertses, legendary English teacher Grace Bordewich and her artistic sister Nancy, and world-class photographer Gus Bundy and his wife Jeanne. Frankly, I was in over my head, but we enjoyed their company and learned a lot.

Someone at Janice’s memorial recalled her devoted service to others throughout her life, whether at home or abroad. She was a Red Cross volunteer during World War II, which claimed the life of her beloved first husband, Army artist Gregor Duncan, and many years later she taught English in Eastern Europe after the Iron Curtain fell.

Although she never had children of her own, Janice loved kids and in recent years financed trips to the spectacular Monterey Bay Aquarium for students from Libby Booth Elementary School in Reno. Janice was proud of that humanitarian project and had tears in her eyes as she showed me a collection of touching thank-you notes she had received from the children. She loved helping others and was motivated to make the world a better place.

Janice was always current on politics and world affairs and was a well-informed critic of my political columns. A very liberal Democrat, she scolded me when she thought I veered too far to the right, but when she liked a column she praised it with a simple “muy bien” (very good), as she practiced her Spanish with me.

On a memorable UNR Library-sponsored trip to France with Janice in 1999, our group was urged to stick together for self-protection in the port city of Bordeaux. As my wife and I walked through a seedy part of town we encountered 85-year-old Janice coming toward us in the opposite direction. “Would you like to walk back to the hotel with us?” we asked. “No thank you,” replied Janice curtly as she continued her purposeful, solitary journey.

As I wrote at the outset, she did it her way and she’ll be greatly missed by those of us who were fortunate enough to count her as a friend.

• Retired diplomat Guy W. Farmer has been a Carson City resident since 1962.