Janet Merrow Muddle
Cushing — Teacher, artist and mother, Janet Merrow Muddle, 83, passed away peacefully Aug. 15, 2013, at her home on Flapjack Lane, at the edge of Maple Juice Cove in Cushing.
Janet was a gentle, sensitive spirit who embraced her artistic roots through teaching, print-making, oil and watercolor painting and jewelry design. Along the way, she mentored many young artists and thoughtfully nurtured longstanding relationships with family and friends.
Born on Feb. 5, 1930, to Frank and Emma (Link) Blasenak, of Norwood, Mass., Janet attended the Rhode Island School of Design and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Boston University in 1952 with a degree in geography, even though there were few female geography majors at the time. Janet was a student leader at BU, including president of the Pan-Hellenic Council. Although she always said it was “no big deal,” Janet helped in the effort to integrate BU by rooming with two African American women, a groundbreaking event at the time.
Janet married Wescott M. Merrow shortly after graduation; they eventually moved to Kennebunk Beach, where they raised four children before divorcing in 1976. For more than a decade Janet was part of the Merrow family hotel business, assisting with the operation of The Sea View House and The Atlantis at Kennebunk Beach. In 1968, she became the art teacher at Kennebunk Junior High and High School, a position she held for eleven years. During that time, she pursued graduate studies in visual education at the University of Southern Maine, graduating with a master’s degree in 1975. Janet treasured her days teaching in Kennebunk where she established enduring relationships with several students who have gone on to become accomplished professional artists.
Ironically, her later marriage to Frank Muddle was the fruition of a friendship that began when they were 6-month-old babies and their mothers were best friends. Reconnecting after 30 years, they married in 1979 on the deck of their cabin that sits on 13 acres of land on Maple Juice Cove. Before retiring to Cushing, the couple lived in the Painesville, Ohio, area where Janet taught adult design classes, worked for an architect as an interior designer and became a member of the Ohio Watercolor Society. Later, in New Jersey, she taught English as a Second Language. Frank and Janet were devoted to each other for 34 years.
In Cushing, Janet was active with a number of organizations, serving as treasurer of the AAUW and publicist for the Cushing Historical Society. In addition, she volunteered at Cushing Elementary School. She was an accomplished quilter and often spent Tuesdays quilting with a small circle of friends in Warren. Janet also continued her career as an artist, becoming a silversmith who created original designs that were sold in the Midcoast area, including the gallery shop at the Center for Maine Contemporary Art in Rockport. In 2009, she was the featured artist at the annual “Work of the Hand” show at the Center for Maine Contemporary Art.
Janet is survived by Frank; her son Ross Merrow and wife Elizabeth, of Kennebunkport; daughter Brook Merrow and husband Hiram Adelman, of Bozeman, Mont.; daughter Susan Merrow and husband John Carroll, of Peaks Island; daughter Jane Veevaert and husband Glen, of Swanville; and stepson John Muddle and wife Christy, of Lockport, N.Y. She was predeceased by stepdaughter Linda Santana, of Atlanta, Ga., and stepson Frank Muddle Jr., of Ashtabula, Ohio. Janet is survived by 16 grandchildren: Anna and Tom Merrow; Jacob and Nate Adelman; Hugh and Jack Carroll; Gretchen, Windham and Sam Veevaert; Stephen and Jonathan Muddle; Rory and Casey Keane; Christopher Ducote, and Lauren and Natalie Santana.
The family thanks the staff and physicians at Pen Bay Medical Center and Kno-Wal-Lin Home Care & Hospice for their exceptional kindness and care. They also would like to thank Drs. Donald Weaver, Cheryl Liechty, Nadia Ramdin and Robert Stein for their excellent care and expertise.
A celebration of life will take place in September in Cushing on a date to be determined.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial donation in Janet’s name to:
Kno-Wal-Lin Hospice, 170 Pleasant St., Rockland, ME or Pope Memorial Humane Society of Knox County (formerly Humane Society of Knox County), PO Box 1294, Rockland, ME 04841.