When we see the brightest star in heaven, her family will remember Janet Elaine (Mitchell) Elsen who passed away quietly and peacefully surrounded by family on November 23, 2018 in Yakima at the age of 84. Her life story unfolds in three parts.
“Janey” She was one of the Mitchell girls on Lombard Loop. Her early life centered around Sawyer, Parker Heights and Wapato. She belonged to the Parker Heights Presbyterian Church and graduated in the Wapato class of 1953.
Mrs. Elsen. Soon after high school, she met a Catholic boy. This Airman from Minnesota was stationed at McChord AFB. Janet was confirmed in the Episcopal Church by Bishop Hubbard and became a 58-year member of Christ Church in Zillah where she served at various times as Treasurer, licensed Lay Reader, and many other capacities. Most satisfying were the times she conducted Morning Prayer on Sundays and gave her own sermons. In addition to three children, Janet and Greg were foster parents for several years. Janet was a caregiver for her mother for five years.
She is co-owner of Triangle Christmas Tree farm. The origin of the name was explained in a feature article in the Herald-Republic in 2003. “The name Triangle can be taken as a reference to roughly the shape of the 5-acre farm that nestles in the bend of the Sunnyside canal. ‘But the real reason for the name is that for success it takes three of us –me and Ma and God,’ Elsen says. “Ma” refers to his wife, Janet.” In 1987 the first year of tree sales, “I took a piece of ground and decided to plant trees. It is the one thing my wife and I could agree upon doing with the land.”
“Mother” Janet was a farm wife who worked outside of the home or in the orchards. She never threw anything away and the family home contains over eighty years of memories including her fifth-grade report card. For those of you who remember her long newsy letters and bold, clear handwriting it may come as a surprise that Penmanship was her worst subject. She was a 4-H and Blue Bird leader and Sunday school teacher. Her values which were expressed in all four of these activities -- office worker, keeping everything, youth leader, and being religiously curious -- are carried into the next generations through her children and grandchildren.
She is survived by her husband of 63 years, Greg, at the home; two children, Chuck of Spokane and Carol (Dale) Lansdown of Cassville, Missouri; son-in-law Steve Masengale of Zillah; three grandchildren, Sean, Ryan, and Nikkia; sister Shirley of Kelso; and special caregivers. Leaving this earth too soon were her youngest daughter, Rose and Janet’s sister Phyllis. Cry happy tears with us when we begin sentences with, “Remember when…”
There will be no services now. After 63 years of marriage, Janet and Greg will go out together with eventual burial at Zillah. Memorial gifts to support Hospice and the Cottage in the Meadow can be given to: The Memorial Foundation, 2701 Tieton Drive, Yakima, WA 98902.