Janeth Anne M. Vanderlinden

Honored by:Susan Marie Benson
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Janeth Anne Meneough Vanderlinden, the only daughter of Henry and Clara (Ewing) Meneough, was born April 29, 1927 in Grimes, Iowa. Janeth "Jan" died of lung cancer November 23, 1989 at Myrtue Memorial Hospital in Harlan, Iowa. She was 62 years old.

As a girl in Grimes, Jan lived first on a hog/crop farm, then in town. She had a pony and many dogs. Throughout her life she loved riding horses and always had a dog. As a teenager she served on the Younkers Teen Board, based in Des Moines. She also enjoyed dancing. She took dancing lessons in Des Moines, and traveled with a dance group to the southern United States one high school summer, and for a time dreamed of becoming a professional dancer.

She loved to read and this hobby extended into her adult life, evidenced by her membership in book discussion groups and extensive reading combined with travel. Two of her favorite authors were James Thurber and Gore Vidal. Dorothy Parker was a favorite poet.  Later in life, Jan discussed a wish to become a librarian, but did not pursue this wish. 

Jan studied Home Economics at Iowa State University receiving a B.S. degree in 1948. She worked briefly in Farner's department store in Harlan, Iowa but was primarily a home maker. Jan married Harold Spencer Vanderlinden, Spence, on September 3, 1948. They moved to Harlan, Iowa where Spence was an engineer at Western Engineering Company until 1951 and then manager of Farm Service Cooperative until his death in 1982. Jan and Spence had two daughters, Susan Marie Benson and Lisbeth Ann McLarty.

Jan was involved in several community organizations, including PEO, Delphians, and Harlin Literary Club. Her church involvement included membership on the Board of Trustees of the First Congregational Church and a women's group, Priscillas. She volunteered in Girl Scouts and 4-H (organizations involving her daughters). She served as a Board member of the Nishnabotna Girl Scout Council and continued work with Girl Scouts after her daughters finished Girl Scouts.

Early in their marriage, Jan and Spence annually visited relatives in Arizona. She loved the climate, colors, and scenery there. Later, they traveled extensively overseas. Jan continued this overseas travel after she was widowed. Typically, she researched a country extensively prior to a tour visit. She achieved a "dream trip", an African safari. Approximately three weeks after completing that trip she was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer.

Jan was an Irish Catholic, and was proud of this heritage. Marriage to Spence necessitated conversion to the Congregational Church. However, at the time of her death she requested, and was served by both the local Catholic priest and the Congregational minister.

She had a quick wit, strong Christian belief, and a spirit that wouldn't give up. She utilized these while successfully battling alcoholism, the sudden deaths of her mother and husband, and the demands of being an only child while caring for parents and aunts.

Jan loved lemon meringue pie, baked potatoes with butter, and lamb chops. Those were her birthday foods. Two of her favorite singers were Ella Fitzgerald and Lena Horn.

Submitted on 7/1/96