Gordon, Janet Rae, age 81, of St. Paul, MN, passed away November 26,
Thanksgiving evening, at Sholom Nursing Home in Saint Paul with her husband at her side. Her warm personality and brilliant smile made her a ray of sunshine for all who knew her. Janet was born June 13, 1934 near Rolla, ND, to Frank and Dorothy (Kelley) McAtee, she was the third of eight children. Elementary school years were in Dunseith, ND. Following WWII her family moved to Custer, SD, and then to Estelline, SD, where Janet graduated from high school in 1952. That year she married Alan Gordon of Watertown, SD, and moved to San Diego, CA, with Alan serving in the U.S. Navy. Returning to South Dakota, Janet's marriage brought six children, Kim, Richard, Lori, Kristin, Mark, and Jon. Janet worked many venues including her parents' bakery in Estelline, Memorial Hospital in Watertown as switchboard operator, and Morrison Construction in Watertown as secretary. In 1978 Janet began college at South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD, finishing her bachelor's degree in three years with high honors while working full-time at a local bakery and grocery. In 1981 Janet and her husband moved to Worthington, MN, where she was employed as a guardian ad litem and probation officer for juveniles. After Alan's death in 1986, Janet entered law school fall of 1987 at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion and graduated in 1990, receiving her J.D. at the same commencement during which her son, Mark, received his M.D. Subsequently, Janet resided in Sioux Falls, SD, St. Paul, MN, and Brookings, SD, and participated in a variety of areas of human rights, women's issues, and environmental activism. In 2004 Janet married Allen Branum of Brookings, SD, closest friend and significant other for more than a decade with whom she shared international travel and involvement with South Dakota State University. They retired in 2009 to reside in St. Paul. Janet's highest priority was always family. Daughter Lori Gordon is a professional artist in Marrakech, Morocco; Kristin Gordon, an occupational therapist, resides in Castle Rock, Co; Mark Gordon is a physician in Spokane, WA; Jon Gordon is an editor with Minnesota Public Radio in St. Paul. Stepdaughter Sheila Arnett is a free-lance software specialist in St. Paul and stepdaughter Risa Eckardt is a hospital pharmacist in St. Paul. Janet's eldest two children, Kim and Richard, died in 2000 and 2005. Also preceding her in death were her parents and three brothers, John, Douglas, and Gary. Janet is survived by her sisters Patricia (Pal) Christensen of Yankton, SD, and Penny (Ron) Slezak of Vermillion, SD, and brothers Michael (Audrey) McAtee of Sartell, MN, and William (Elaine) McAtee of Jonesborough, TN. Janet has 14 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren. A memorial service for Janet will be held Saturday, December 12, at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church, 2222 Cliff Avenue, Sioux Falls, SD, at 2:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations in Janet's memory can be made to the Six Degrees Consortium (promoting cross-cultural understanding through art), P.O. Box 3962, St. Paul, MN 55101.
Saturday, December 12, 2015
All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church
2222 Cliff Avenue
Sioux Falls, SD