Janet Elizabeth Townsend, age 95, died peacefully on March 27, 2020 at the end of a long decline. Janet died at Wingate Assisted Living in Providence, Rhode Island, which had been her home for eleven years.
Janet was born on February 22nd, 1925 in England, the youngest of the five children of Jesse Ramsey and Lewis Townsend – William, Robert, Margaret, and Peter. She grew up in Kent and had vivid memories of the bombing of Canterbury during World War II when she was working at her father's dental practice.
After the war, Janet attended The Bath Academy of Art at Corsham Court and started her career in advertising before moving to the more congenial world of publishing at Blackies and Norton. In 1965 Janet emigrated to the United States where she lived in Manhattan and worked as a children's book designer at Random House. One of the books she designed was A is for Annie an alphabet reader as remembered by Janet's mother from her own childhood. Janet's mystery for young adults, The Comic Book Mystery was published in 1973. Throughout her life, Janet employed her sharp intelect in search of meaning and truth in religion, history, art, and especially in music. In New York she found a spiritual home at the Vedanta society's Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center which nurtured her belief in the inter-connection of, and the presence of the divine in, everything.
Janet did not surrender her British Citizenship but never regretted her emigration; she felt that the US gave her the opportunity to make a life of her own choosing. Janet was well aware of the dark side of American society and participated in many organizations working against racism and poverty. For several years after the American war in Vietnam, she was active with Project Hearts and Minds, gathering medical supplies, and travelling to Vietnam with US veterans so they could deliver those supplies in person.
Janet retired and moved to Pleasantville, New York. There she was involved in village affairs, was an active environmentalist, and was a member of the Tuesday Society. Because of her declining health, she moved to Providence in 2008.
Janet's siblings all died before her, but until their deaths she maintained close relationships with them. She is survived by seven nephews and nieces and many more remote kin whom she discovered during her genealogical investigations.
At Janet's request there will be no services. Her ashes will be scattered in a river that will carry them down to dispersion in the sea and incorporation in the earth.
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