Janet Young Gadient (9/15/1954 -- 10/5/2014) was a caring daughter, dear friend, selfless colleague, and mentor who taught excellence by example. For fifteen months following her diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, she fought the disease with her usual tenacity. She kept her doctors on their toes, always negotiating for the newest treatment or clinical trial, doing so with humor, patience and respect.
Janet devoted much of her life to her work as a transactional lawyer with IBM and most recently as an inspirational teacher to new lawyers for IBM. She was great at that work, and particularly treasured teaching the lawyers she called ‘my kids.’ IBM sent her to places around the world, including India; Switzerland; Washington, DC; New York; and East Lansing, Michigan, where she developed many friendships.
Janet lovingly looked after her mother Nancy, who shared the same Chapel Hill neighborhood. She created beautiful gardens, filled her home with whimsy, loved running and exercising at the gym, and enjoyed a nice evening out for dinner and a movie.
In September, friends from around the country gathered in Chapel Hill to surprise Janet with a 60th birthday party. They worked hard to make it a celebration instead of her "last birthday." She beamed infectiously in her “Janet” way throughout the entire party, dancing, joking, laughing, and providing more beautiful memories of a special person.
Her last weeks were filled with the love and company of friends. Many more kept her in their thoughts and prayers. We continue to be inspired by Janet.
A memorial service will be held November 21 at 2:00 pm at the Christ Church (800 Market St in Southern Village, Chapel Hill, NC 27516). There will be a gathering immediately after the service at the church. In lieu of flowers, Janet requested that donations be made to one of the following: St. Jude Children’s Hospital for the care of children and their families, to Ronald McDonald houses, to a public garden, or to a local park of your choice (designate in honor of Janet Gadient). A memorial run will be held in Spring, 2015; details will be provided on CaringBridge and Facebook when plans are finalized.
She is survived by her mother, Nancy Gadient; brother, John Gadient; niece, Allison; cat, Zonkers; cousins; and many friends around the world.
The message Janet expressed to her family, many friends and coworkers was this: "If I can return your generosity at all, maybe it's to pass on the philosophy that strikes many with life threatening disease -- i.e., if it’s not life-threatening, don't stress!! Simply fix it if it's fixable, live with it if it's not. Every moment of every day, cherish life, laughter, people, sunrises and sunsets, little caterpillars, funny children. Please guys - don't wait until you or your loved ones get a life threatening illness to fully embrace how beautiful life is, and that which stresses you is, in all likelihood, the ‘small stuff.’”
We love you, Janet. The saying must be true: "only the good die young."