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Janet Nelson Friedell
  • In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to:
  • Schlesinger Library at the Radcliffe Institute
    P.O. Box 419209
    Boston, MA 02241-9209

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Janet Nelson Friedell passed away on January 4, 2019 in Charleston, SC. Jan was born on May 2, 1930, in Provo, Utah, and was the youngest of Lowry and Florence Nelson's three children.

Jan's husband and partner of 67 years, Gil Friedell, passed away in September of 2018, and they are survived by four of their five children. Sadly, in 2016, their eldest son, Mark, passed away. Jan leaves her daughter-in-law, Donna Friedell of Orlando, FL; son, Ben (Diana) of Oneonta, NY; daughter, Anne Lewis of Charleston, SC; son, James (Laurie) of Newton, MA; and daughter, Sarah O'Connell (Brian) of Somerville, MA; as well as seven grandchildren; and one great-granddaughter.

Jan graduated from high school in Minneapolis, MN and attended Radcliffe University where she graduated magna cum laude with a major in Slavic Studies. Gifted in languages, Jan spoke Russian fluently, along with French and Spanish. She earned a Master's degree in Teaching at Simmons College in 1974 and taught languages at Lincoln-Sudbury High School and Dana Hall School. Jan and Gil raised their family primarily in Newton, MA but moved to Lexington, KY in 1983 when Gil became director of the Markey Cancer Center at the University of Kentucky. Jan enrolled in UK to earn a second Master's degree in English and Creative Writing which led to her participation in the founding of the Kentucky Women Writer's Conference, now the longest running festival of women authors in the nation.

Jan's mother was an accomplished pianist and she grew up in a household full of music, leading to her ongoing passion for music of all types, particularly opera. She also played piano and encouraged her children and grandchildren to learn to play an instrument. Jan was a lover of both visual and cultural arts, attending movies and plays, and visiting museums around the world. She had a deep commitment to social justice and was actively engaged in politics on both the local and national levels. Jan's love of nature was evident as she enjoyed local arboretums, beautiful gardens and being near the water. Along with her husband, Gil, they traveled extensively, including living abroad and making life-long friends wherever they lived.

A memorial service honoring Jan's life will be held on March 2, 2019 at 1:00 PM at the First Parish Unitarian Church in Watertown, Massachusetts.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Janet's memory to Planned Parenthood, or the Schlesinger Library at the Radcliffe Institute P.O. Box 419209, Boston, MA 02241-9209.