Janet Vanwoert Cole, 87, of Ferrisburgh


FERRRISBURGH — Janet Vanwoert Cole, 87, of Ferrisburgh, passed away in the early morning on March 26, 2024, at the Helen Porter Rehabilitation Center in Middlebury, Vt., with her husband Carl at her side. She was born on April 15, 1936, in Oneonta, N.Y., the daughter of John Van Woert and Harriet Byard Van Woert. Janet grew up in Oneonta, attending the Bugbee Elementary School, which was a part of the New York State Teachers College, (now SUNY Oneonta) and Oneonta High School. One of her greatest joys was being a Majorette with the marching band, where she won many awards as a baton twirler.

Janet came to Vermont during the summers of 1948 and 1949, attending Camp École Champlain, a French language camp that was located in what is now the Kingsland Bay State Park in Ferrisburgh. She returned to Vermont in 1954 to visit Middlebury College, graduating from Middlebury in 1958. It was during her initial visit in 1954 that she met Carl Cole. The two were married in 1962.

After graduating college, Janet wanted to make Vermont her home and began her teaching career in the Weeks School in Vergennes. At the time, it was the Vermont reform school for delinquent and socially dependent youth. She taught an ungraded classroom for six years, with students ranging from 10 to 20 years old. Janet hated the term “reform” school as she was always a strong advocate for children, no matter their background. She spent the next 24 years teaching in the South Burlington and Addison Northwest School districts specializing in Special Education, gaining a Fifth-Year Certificate from UVM in the field before retiring from public education after 30 years.

While in the South Burlington District she met Dr. Patricia Stone, Clinical Psychologist, with whom she would work for 27 years. Together they performed testing and evaluating services — both educational and psychological —with Janet being responsible for the educational aspect. Their clients came from all over the United States, as well as an occasional foreign country and ranged from small children to adults. In addition, they spent time working for the Vermont court system, determining the competency of those accused of crimes, to assure they received a fair judgement.

Janet served on the boards of Addison County Home Health & Hospice as well as Addison County Fair & Field Days. She was a true horsewoman, having a lifelong love of horses, both riding and driving. While on the Field Days board she was in charge of the “horse” area, where she organized and supervised the various horse shows.

Janet also was instrumental in the organization and growth of what would become the Addison Otter Swim Team when her boys were old enough to join. The team was in its infancy when she became involved. She played a large administrative role, scheduling home meets and away invitationals as well as writing the highlights of every event for the local newspaper.

She was a voracious reader, consuming book after book in a short time, on any number of subjects — geography, history and historical fiction were of particular interest to her. She was always very inquisitive. An Amish friend once told her that “she knew more about the Amish than he did.” Coupled with her reading was a mind that seldom forgot. Those who knew her will remember and miss her sometimes lengthy discussions on any number of subjects.

Janet is survived by her husband of 62 years, Carl; her son Roderick “Doc” Cole of Ferrisburgh and his partner Heidi and her two children, Cyran and Hayden; and her son John and his wife Tricia, also of Ferrisburgh. She was the proud grandmother of Shannon Cole of Asheville, N.C., and stepgranddaughters Marissa Ouellette of Vergennes and Amanda Brigan of Ferrisburgh. She was predeceased by her parents and two brothers, David and Peter.

Per Janet’s wishes, there will be no formal services. A gathering in her memory will be held at the Kingsland Bay State Park later in the summer.

Her family wishes to express their gratitude to the staff at Helen Porter Rehabilitation for the exceptional care they gave Janet the last few weeks of her life. With great patience, they showed her dignity and gave her comfort.

For those wishing to do so, please consider a donation to Addison County Home Health & Hospice in Janet’s memory.◊


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