Janet Walden Knight
Thank you to everyone for honoring and celebrating the life of Janet Walden Knight. During Janet's extended illness over the past few years, and especially during the last few months, so many of you reached out to our family and specifically to her. She loved all of you so much for coming to visit or calling on the phone. Lee Ann, she loved having you spend the night countless times with her at the hospital. We never would have made it through without the support and prayers from all of you.
Janet was born to loving parents John and Joan Walden in Pasadena TX on August 20, 1956. After a brief stay in California, she spent most of her childhood in the Beaumont area with brother John David and sister Jo Carroll.
Janet defied a lot of odds, and was determined to meet her goals. As a child she was told that she wouldn't walk, ride a bike, or do a lot of things that kids do. Through the work of great doctors in Houston, the help of TIRR (The Institute for Rehabilitation and Research), God's blessings, and her own determination, she proved them all wrong and had a great childhood growing up in Sour Lake amongst family and many lifelong friends. The days spent in Pinewood were definitely some of her favorite.
As long as she could remember Janet wanted to be a Mom and a teacher, practicing on her siblings, relatives, neighborhood friends, and anyone else she could boss around. She graduated from Hardin Jefferson High School and set her sights on elementary education. Between frat parties with her sister Jo Carroll and nights with her best friend Rene at “The Keg”, she graduated from Lamar University in Beaumont and started teaching in Sour Lake Tx in 1978. A couple of years later, she moved to Houston with Jo Carroll and taught in Rosenberg, TX. It was then that she met Ben out one night dancing at The Wild West. Of course, he became her next goal.
The two of them married in 1984 in the presence of family and friends- some friends even dressed in ‘70s leisure suits. Ben and Janet spent almost 35 incredible years very happily married. It was a true match made in heaven. In 1986 Ben and Janet moved to Temple TX, where Janet continued to teach, but she had more goals in mind.
Janet wanted to be a mom to her own child, and not just her students. Haley was born on September 5, 1986. Being pregnant wasn't easy for Janet- she lived in the hospital on bed rest for 2 months before Haley was born, being visited by friends and family every day. This lengthy hospital stay resulted in a lifelong friendship with Theresa. They would later go on many family vacations together.
Being a great mom to Haley, and part time Mom to anyone else who would listen, came easy and was a true gift of Janet's. Janet took a break from formal teaching for 11 years to be a mom, but even then, she tutored and mentored many children. She returned to elementary education in 1998 in Klein ISD where she established many lifelong friendships with teachers, parents and students. Janet remained a classroom teacher until 2011 when her health would no longer allow her to work in the classroom. After leaving Haude Elementary, and her 4th grade team teachers Lori and Janet, she would still tutor at home as well as help any child or parent in need.
One of Janet's last goals that she achieved was to see and hold her grandchild. Haley and husband Andrew blessed the family with Jonah in October. Jonah even coaxed some smiles from Janet when he visited during her final days in the hospital.
Janet's teaching legacy continues after passing. It was her decision to donate her body for medical research to the UT Health Science Center so that beginning medical students as well as seasoned doctors could continue to learn how to help others that may be afflicted with the same health conditions and illnesses that she had. It's a life lesson we can all learn from.
For those wishing to make a memorial contribution in Janet’s memory, please consider TIRR at https://www.tirrfoundation.org/membership/donate.aspx