Janet Jean (Parker) Simmermaker
Janet Jean (Parker) Simmermaker, of Winamac, died Oct. 17, at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, surrounded by her family.
Janet was born in St. John, on Aug. 3, 1936, the seventh of eight children born to Raymond and Heloise Parker. In 1950, before her freshman year in high school, her family moved from Dyer, to Star City. At Star City High School, she was a cheerleader and senior class president and was affectionately nicknamed “Webster” for her impressive vocabulary. Janet quickly caught the eye of Star City neighbor John Simmermaker, who declared that he planned to “marry that girl someday.” John and Janet went on to attend Ball State University and were married on Dec. 18, 1955.
Before moving to Winamac, Janet and John were active members of the Star City community, where Janet attended the Star City United Methodist Church and enjoyed singing in the choir. While raising her five children, Janet held a number of jobs but most fondly remembered the years she spent working with children while a teacher’s assistant at the Star City school. She was a proud Democrat and worked the election polls for decades, even receiving an award from the Indiana Secretary of State for her dedication to Indiana elections. Janet was an avid IU basketball fan and loved the NCAA tournament as well as the Chicago Bears. She collected antiques and loved nothing more than going to antique auctions with John. Together, they amassed an extensive collection of Indiana jacquard coverlets. Janet also collected junior Hoosier kitchen cabinets and vintage punched paper mottos. Janet was passionate about historic preservation and loved their home in Winamac. Janet and John proudly restored the Dr. G. W. Thompson house on Market Street which subsequently received designation on the National Register of Historic Places. Proud of her Hoosier heritage and their Hoosier Homestead Farm, Janet couldn’t get enough sweet corn in the summer, and she loved black raspberry pie.
Janet was preceded in death by her parents; brother Robert Parker; sisters: Helen Phillips, Mildred Stone Meyer, Meda Trobaugh, Mary Ellen Phillips and Margaret Ann Parker.
She is survived by her loving husband of 63 years, John; sister Carol [Roy] Halverson; children: Jonathon [Lisa Zeyen], Jill [James] King, Jennifer, Jordan and Jolie; grandchildren: Jaime [Jim] Garlick, Jocelyn Simmermaker, Jared [April] Simmermaker, Jordan King and Jameson King; great-grandchildren Aidan Simmermaker and John and Jessica Garlick.
Janet was smart, opinionated, and fiercely devoted to her family. She always reinforced the importance of speaking up for what is right and for assisting those in need, especially at Christmas time. In honor of Janet, a fund is being established in her name to support local causes which were important to her. Contributions may be made in Janet’s name to the Community Foundation of Pulaski County, 127 East Pearl Street, Winamac, IN 46996.
In accordance with her wishes, Janet’s body was donated to the IU School of Medicine for medical research. All family and friends are invited to a celebration of her life on Nov. 16 any time between 1-5 p.m. at Moss Creek Country Club, 3600 S. 300 W., Winamac.
(Pulaski County Journal — Oct. 30, 2019)