Janet McClayton Crites
Long-time Lake Oswego resident Janet McClayton Crites passed away in her sleep on July 28, 2020 at age 80, forty courageous years after she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Devoted to family and friends, kind to the core, and with a clever sense of humor, Jan inspired all who knew her.
Born February 2, 1940 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Jan lived in nearby Mt. Lebanon until her family moved to Park Ridge, Illinois when she was ten. In high school she met Bob Crites, and they began dating while both were at Cornell University. They married on December 28, 1960 and soon after Jan finished her degree at Cornell while Bob completed his U.S. Navy officer training.
Best known professionally in Lake Oswego as a highly-respected top Realtor, Jan's early career flexed to fit U.S. Navy tours in Norfolk, Virginia and Washington, D.C., as she taught history at a private school, served as a teaching dietician in a Veterans' hospital, and worked as a civil servant at the Agricultural Research Service. After Bob completed his Navy commitment, his engineering career took them to LaCrosse, Wisconsin and then Flint, Michigan, where Jan worked as a home service representative for Consumers Power Company. After their move to Birmingham, Michigan, Jan dove into decades of volunteer work for the Junior League, PTA, and arboretum organizations, exemplifying her encouragement to loved ones to "do something larger than yourself" in service to others and for our country.
Jan often said her proudest accomplishment was her three wonderful children, and she is survived by Lawrence, Valerie, and William. In 1977, Jan and Bob moved from suburban Detroit to Lake Oswego because they wanted to live in a place their children would want to raise their own families. After exhaustively researching several geographic possibilities, they decided on the Pacific Northwest. Lake Oswego was a wonderful fit for the family, and the plan worked: Larry and wife Stacy live in Seattle; Val (Fowler) and husband Chip are in Lyle, Washington; and Will and wife Carolina reside in Kirkland, Washington. Jan is also survived by her brothers William (Bill) McClayton of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, and Tom McClayton of Winnetka, Illinois; as well as by five grandchildren and four step-grandchildren.
In 2005, Jan and Bob moved to Clyde Hill, Washington. They enjoyed being closer to family, and Bob loved sailing on Puget Sound. Two years after Bob died in April 2010, Jan moved to Mercer Island where she lived until her death.
Jan believed in the importance of both roots and wings. With roots happily and firmly in the Northwest, Jan and Bob loved winging away on travel adventures, visiting all the continents except Antarctica. Jan particularly loved the mountains; she and Bob were active in Mazamas and together summited most of the nearby Cascade peaks. Jan also guided Larry, Val, and Will on their first summits of Mt. Hood. Cross-country skiing and sailing were other passions for Jan, with family sailing trips to the San Juan and Gulf Islands an annual summer highlight. As her mobility decreased and she was confined to a wheelchair, Jan still walked in her dreams. Her family envisions her gleefully scampering up the tallest mountain in heaven with Bob, celebrating at the summit with her favorite red wine and dark chocolate.
Jan was a proud member of PEO, Daughters of the American Revolution, Delta Gamma Fraternity, and the Seattle Yacht Club. She generously supported arts and conservation organizations, and proudly served as a Class Officer for her Cornell Class of '62 for 58 years (!).
Jan was cremated, and the family will hold a celebration of her life at a later date when a party is possible, post Covid-19. If you wish to make a donation in Jan's honor, please consider PEO, Cornell University, or the Myelin Repair Foundation.