When Janet Goodrich, now 69, was still a teenager, her parents surprised her with a hope chest. Janet immediately started using her savings to purchase what would compliment her hopes for the future. She had been diligently saving for college, but changed direction when she became engaged. Since her thoughts were on marriage, she soon had the hope chest almost full of linens, household items, and other treasures to support her dreams of a home and family. In 1963, she married the love of her life, Kendall Goodrich, when she was 19. She lovingly filled her new home with the items from her hope chest. Over the next few years she again added semblances of hope to her chest as she tucked away special treasures in anticipation of future additions to her family. Then in 1967, her dream of a baby girl was fulfilled. In 1969, she and her husband were once again blessed with another baby girl. During all that time, the hope chest accompanied her from her first home to subsequent residences, which included moves required by her husband’s four-year stint in the military. From that point forward, the hope chest seemed to contain more the remnants of hope than new hope for the future. When Janet died on April 2, 2013, the hope chest was filled to the brim with remnants of a very full and happy life. These items were separated into nine different segments of her life:
• 1. On top of everything was Janet’s study Bible with favorite passages marked and other verses highlighted that would have sustained her during her two-year journey into the world of cancer. It was apparent how strong Janet’s faith in Christ Jesus was and how much she trusted Him.
• 2. There were mementos of loved ones that preceded her in death. There were linens that had been lovingly embroidered and sewn by her mother, Alta Hiatt; pictures and cards from her sister, Kathryn Ann Etta Hiatt Goodrich, and her beloved father, Gerald Hiatt.
• 3. The next layer was comprised of Janet’s most precious treasurers—memories of her six precious grandchildren. There were crafts they made, pictures they drew, special gifts they lovingly showered her with and other treasures. There were photos of them taking part in the exciting times she planned for them. She had an adventuresome spirit (much to her husband’s chagrin) and she tried to re-create the fun-filled remembrances that she loved most from her childhood. She liked to share all the good times she and her siblings experienced with all the neighborhood kids in Council Bluffs, Iowa where she grew up.
• 4. Friends were a big part of Janet’s life. The chest contained souvenirs from vacations shared with old friends and family and thoughtful cards and notes from all the friends she embraced over the years. After graduating from Abraham Lincoln High School in 1962, Janet kept in touch with old friends and tucked into the chest were high school reunion booklets and pictures.
• 5. Janet also saved many cards and letters sent from her surviving family members; brothers: Loren Hiatt (Judy) of Omaha, NE; Jerry Hiatt (Diane) of Council Bluffs, IA and Dean Hiatt of Colorado Springs, CO; plus numerous nieces and nephews and a multitude of cousins. She was blessed with two children: Michelle Bartee (Scott) of Denver, CO and Katrina Watson (Val) of Colorado Springs and six grandchildren: Brittany Goodrich, who is a Junior at UNC, Savannah, Christian, Mitchell, Nicholas and Ava Watson, all of Colorado Springs.
• 6. Early in Janet’s career, she received her Certified Property Manager designation from the Institute of Real Estate Management in Chicago, IL. Remnants from a successful career in commercial Real Estate reflect Janet’s climb to the top of national companies where she was the director of property management, leasing and/or acquisition analysis divisions. She received many awards and even wrote an article that was published in a national trade journal for which she received the “Article of the Year” award. After leaving the national arena, Janet often commented that being at the top “isn’t what it is cracked up to be.” Consequently, she happily settled into a slower lifestyle in her local community of Colorado Springs and was content to have her own commercial real estate company. Most of Janet’s clients (commercial buyers, sellers, tenants and owners) became lifelong friends after working with her.
• 7. The remnants that scatter across the bottom of her hope chest hold the fondest memories of being a mother and wife. There are the baby books of her two daughters, tiny baby dresses that she loved to dress them in and special “mommy” cards and notes. There were also love letters from her husband when he was in Viet Nam and special tokens of their love.
Janet’s favorite holiday was Christmas and her Christmas trees and decorated gift packages were known as a work of art. Inheriting her father’s giving spirit, Janet inspired her daughters to also freely give. When they were young, Janet would load them into the car with gifts and scour the streets downtown in an attempt to surprise the needy with Christmas gifts. She eventually learned to be more specific by seeking out children less fortunate and showering them with gifts. As a result, both of Janet’s daughters have devoted their lives to helping others.
• 8. Her immediate family was started over 49 years ago with the marriage to her faithful husband, Kendall Goodrich. Their wedding album celebrates their love and devotion to each other and tells of that hot September day in Council Bluffs, Iowa when everyone was frantically looking for the switch to the A/C to relieve their guests of the humidity that hung heavily in the air. But nothing could dampen the happiness Janet and Kendall experienced that day.
• 9. Just as Janet’s life ended with her holding onto her study Bible, we find at the bottom of the hope chest, her worn childhood Bible. She loved her beautiful white Bible that was a gift from her Godly parents. It is now yellowed and torn and is held together with a rubber band. But the promises contained within are no less sweet than they were right after she accepted Jesus Christ as her savior when she was a child.
This chest, that was filled with such hope, signifies Janet’s life and could hardly contain the many blessings that made up her life. She finished well and now stands before Jesus Christ, who greets her with these words, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
A celebration of life service will be held at Beth-El Mennonite Church in Colorado Springs, 4625 Ranch Drive on Tuesday, April 9, 2013, at 11 am.