Janet H. Derby

Oct 13, 2017
Janet Derby

Portland — Janet Hayward Beggs Derby, 94, died peacefully in her sleep Oct. 8, 2017. Her family was grateful to be there, surrounding her with love, music, stories and prayers.

Loving and beloved mother of six, she leaves her children, Valerie Beggs, Kevin Beggs and wife Stephanie, Kristin Sweeney and husband Mark, Cynthia Beggs, Melissa Marchetti and husband Tim, and Kimberly Murphy. She leaves nine grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Jan also leaves her beloved brother- and sister-in-law, Jack and Rosemary Beggs, of Novi, Mich., and their family.

“Smooth as a trout,” her mother’s doctor pronounced when Janet was born to Raymond and Dorothy Hayward, of Bath July 19, 1923. The description stuck, as Janet spent her summers at Hayward’s Point on Birch Island, where she learned to row, swim, dive, canoe and fish, and where she developed a lifelong appreciation for simple island life. A highlight of her 90th birthday was rowing on her own in Camden harbor, and on her 94th birthday she visited the island one last time.

Janet grew up in Winchester, Mass., and graduated from high school in the class of ’41, performing in annual Vaudeville shows and playing field hockey and basketball. A newspaper report of Winchester’s playoff basketball game against Woburn stated, “Inability to check Janet Hayward resulted in the downfall of the Woburnites as the Winchester scoring ace caged 20 points – more than the entire Woburn team combined.”

Janet went on to major in physical education at Boston’s Bouvé College. College friends became her friends for life, and she organized reunions and kept the class newsletter going for the next 60 years.

In 1946, Janet married Carl Beggs, of Marissa, Ill., eventually settling in Sough Weymouth, Mass., where they raised their family of six. Raising a family was Janet’s most passionate life’s work. During this time she enrolled in the early childhood education program at Lesley College in Cambridge, Mass., and designed and opened the first kindergarten program at the Lutheran Church of the Cross in Hanover, Mass., becoming the lead teacher there. Over the years, her memberships in Lutheran churches enriched her life and fulfilled her desire to serve, sing and grow spiritually. Janet’s most recent membership, at Nativity Lutheran Church in Rockport was as rewarding as any she experienced in her long life.

In 1989, Janet’s second marriage, to her high school sweetheart, Dean Derby of Harwich, Mass., brought them both ‘seven years of bliss, until Dean’s passing in 1996. Her years since were filled with happy memories of their time together and gratitude for their later-in-life reunion.

In recent years, many have helped with Janet’s care as her memory diminished. The kindness and caring of the staffs at Bartlett Woods, Rockland,, and Avita of Stroudwater, Westbrook, along with several very special care providers have truly been appreciated by Janet’s family. You all made such a difference in our mother’s life. Thank you!

A service celebrating Janet’s life will be held Saturday, Oct. 21,, at 11 a.m. at Elijah Kellogg Church, 917 Harpswell Neck Road, Harpswell. There will be a private burial that afternoon at Riverview Cemetery in Topsham. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Janet Derby’s name to Nativity Lutheran Church, 179 Old County Road, Rockport, ME  04856.

Funeral arrangements are with Jones, Rich and Barnes Funeral Home of Portland.

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