Janet Harmon worked at St. Bernardine School for seventeen years. In that time she earned the love and respect of all she came in contact with, whether they be teachers, students, parents or fellow employees.
On April 19, however, following a valiant battle with cancer, the St. Bernardine Community lost one of their faithfully devoted when Harmon passed away at her River Forest Home.
Harmon was a teacher’s aide at St. Bernardine, as well as a loyal and active member of the St. Bernardine Parish family.
At the school, she was always willing to give a helping hand, especially when it came to welcoming a new administrator and helping him feel at home.
Harmon helped him learn the ropes, said Larry White, principal at St. Bernardine, adding that he was always impressed by how much she loved the kids and how generous she was.
“When we were looking for a place for the staff Christmas party, she immediately volunteered her home,” White said.
Jane Bale, Harmon’s supervising teacher described Harmon as “generous, kind, and the most resourceful person I have ever known.
“If I ever needed anything Janet would find a way to get it,” Bale said. “She knew how to make things happen.”
Bale and Harmon also had a special relationship because Bale taught all three of the Harmon children.
Mark Harmon, Jr. described his mother as a very private and very generous person.
“She was involved in many charitable activities but didn’t want anybody to know about them and she wanted nothing in return,” he recalled.
For Harmon, her son said, working at St. Bernardine was a labor of love, not necessity.
It was her way of showing love the kids, and giving something back to the community,” he said.
In fact, added Mark Harmon, Sr., her husband, privacy was so important to her that she did not even want others to know she was battling cancer, at times refusing to even discuss the illness.
“She never felt sorry for herself and didn’t anybody else to feel sorry for her,” Harmon, Sr. said.
“Janet was the smartest person I knew,” said Maureen Martin, one of Harmon’s coworkers. “Whenever I had a question on any topic she either knew the answer or would go on the internet and research it. She was also a great mechanic in that she could fix anything. If the copy machine, the laminating machine or a computer wasn’t working, Janet could fix it.”
The greatest impact of Harmon’s work, however, was through the children she worked with the and the influence she had in their lives.
Milton McKinney, one her students, recalled that when the zipper on his jacket got stuck”and it did so often”Mrs. Harmon was the only one who could free it up.
Harmon, her friends said, was also an avid golfer and a fantastic shopper.
She could always find bargains and always had a purse full of coupons, coworker Barbara Crawford reminisced.
Crawford also mentioned that Janet took up golf several years ago, and with her usual skill and determination, became an excellent golfer. In fact, she had a hole-in-one on St. Bernardine Day at Nordic Hills.
Above all else, however, family, colleagues and students all agree that Janet was a woman of faith, intelligence, generosity, kindness, resourcefulness, mechanical ability, initiative and dependability, and all agree that she will be greatly missed.
Funeral services were held on Monday, she is survived by her husband, Mark, her children Mark, Jr. (Ann), Justin, Cynthia, and her grandson Emmett.
Harmon was 53 years old.