Janet E. Stephenson

Honored by:David Stephenson and Carolyn Cornette
Brick location:C:16  map

"Men, their rights, and nothing more, women, their rights, and nothing less." -Susan B. Anthony

Janet Elaine Jewsbury was born July 1, 1935 in Colchester, Illinois. Her parents were Mary Maurine Hulson Jewsbury and Wilbur Gordon Jewsbury. In 1954, at the start of her sophomore year in college, her father, a high school teacher, began graduate study at Washington State University in Pullman, WA. I met her shortly after she moved there with her family. Janet graduated from WSU with a Bachelor's degree in Chemistry in 1957, and we were married in August of that year. From 1958 until 1966 we lived in Massachusetts, Maryland, and Illinois while I served a military obligation and attended graduate school. Our son, Neal, was born in October of 1959 at Ft. Meade, MD, and our two daughters, Kay and Carol, were born in Urbana, IL in April 1963 and February 1966.

During the period 1960-1966 Janet was a laboratory technician in biochemistry at the University of Illinois. Our family moved to Ames in August 1966 when I joined the faculty in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Iowa State University. For her first seven years in Ames Janet put aside her technical interests in favor of her family, but from 1973 until her retirement in 1992 she worked as a laboratory technician at ISU doing tissue culture in the Muscle Biology group.

Since 1996 Janet has become deeply involved in committees, boards, and agencies of the United Methodist Church.  A listing of these positions includes the following.

Since 1996 Janet has become deeply involved in committees, boards, and agencies of the United Methodist Church.  A listing of these positions includes the following:

Local Church (Collegiate United Methodist Church, Ames, IA): Chairperson of Wesley Foundation Board, Council on Ministries, and Administrative Council.  Teacher of Spiritual Formation class since 1995.

Iowa Conference, United Methodist Church: Conference Secretary for 12 years.  Other positions: Lay Member, Board of Ordained Ministries; member, Area Committee on the Episcopacy; member, Conference Leadership Team; member, Conference Council on Ministries.

North Central Jurisdiction, United Methodist Church: Conference Secretary, 2000-2004.

General (National) level, United Methodist Church: Iowa representative on the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (1984-1992) and Chair of that Board’s Division of Higher Education for 4 years; member, Commission for Black Colleges; Iowa representative on the General Board of Discipleship (1992-2000); member, General Conference Committee on Plan of Organization and Rules of Order (2000-2008 and Chair 2004-2008).

Janet has been a Lay Delegate from Iowa to the Church’s quadrennial Jurisdictional Conference (seven times, beginning 1980) and General Conference (six times, beginning 1984).   As outgrowths of her national-level Church involvement she has been selected for membership on the Board of Directors of the Educational and Institutional Insurance Administrators Corporation, the Board of Directors of the United Methodist Foundation for Christian Higher Education, and the Board of Trustees of Cornell College, Mt. Vernon, IA.  Travel on church-related matters has taken her to Indonesia, India, Zimbabwe, and Brazil.

In 1991 she received the Ruth Marshall Award of the Ames Campus Ministers Association for “…outstanding contribution to the efforts of campus ministry in Ames.”

Beyond these church-related activities, she has served as a Republican precinct committeewoman and as Secretary of the Ames-ISU Bicycle Committee and of the Emergency Residence Project.  She served on the Ames Public Library Foundation Board and served as its chairperson for 1 year.

But what makes Janet a heroine to her family is her extraordinary devotion as wife, mother, and grandmother. She is a homemaker, in the truest sense of the word. To me she has always been a loving provider, conscience, supporter, empathizer, giver of initiative, and friend. For our children, her years as a Campfire Girls leader and a Cub Scout den mother barely scratch the surface of her devotion: she has filled their every need -- physically, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually. She has tirelessly nurtured in them a strong sense of family identity and closeness and an appreciation for the best that their heritage has to offer them. The thing for which I am most thankful where our children are concerned is that they have Janet for a mother; she, more than anyone else, deserves the credit for what they have become.

And for our grandchildren Zoe (1990), Abraham (1993), Lauren (1994), Kietra (1995), and Meredith (1998) she has become the consummate affectionate and caring Grandma.

David Stephenson


Submitted on 5/30/95; updated 4/23/2014