Jeanette Margie Barrett (Gulso) was born in a small town in MN, Howard Lake. She was baptized and confirmed at St. James Lutheran Church in Howard Lake. She and her 2 brothers were raised by their parents Leona and Louis on a family dairy and crop farm. She graduated from Howard Lake High School in 1956. Jan met James Arthur Barrett at the Blue Note Dance Hall in Winsted, MN and married 6 months later. They celebrated their 61st wedding Anniversary on February 7, 2020.
Jan was a hairstylist and was able to work in her in-home beauty shop then styled hair for seniors at St. Therese nursing home.
Together Jan and Jim raised 5 children at their Brooklyn Park, MN home. When the family was young, summers were spent camping at KOA campgrounds with lifelong family friends the Bennett’s and Chesnesses’ then later at their cabin on Lobster Lake. Card playing, fishing, swimming, campfires, fireworks, swings through the trees and laughter defined those decades. Jan was the head chef for all of the troops and on more than one occasion at dinner time after several calls were ignored, we would hear “Come and eat or we are going to throw it all out!” followed by laughter (most of the time).
Jan was a wonderful cook some family favorites include: Home-made chicken noodle soup, potato salad, beef roast, goulash, stuffing and cinnamon rolls, caramel rolls, chocolate brownies, rhubarb cake, strawberry shortcake. Every year on our birthday Jan would let each of us choose our special meal that would be shared by the family.
In 1977 the family embarked on a road trip in the paneled station wagon to Florida visiting several sights including: Cape Canaveral, Sanibel Island and Disney World. The family enjoyed a second big Florida trip in January 2017. Many delicious meals shared, rides experienced, parades and fireworks watched and all enjoyed seeing Jordan zipping Jan through the Disney crowds in her wheelchair bells ringing. We were recently looking through the photos reminiscing and making Jan smile. After Disney, Jan, Jim and Nikki continued the fun and traveled to Sanibel Island. They collected shells and strolled along the beaches, saw the sights and enjoyed the sunsets.
Jan and Jim spent a winter in Casa Grande, AZ with family friends Doug and Toma Chessness. While there they enjoyed many adventures. With Jan’s direction, they collected over 1050 pounds of rocks from the AZ deserts which they then transported back to MN in their minivan then placed in the rock garden. It was a miracle that they made it back safely to the house with all of the extra weight going through the mountains.
Jan loved mining for treasures at yard sales, estate sales and auctions. She would bring the treasures back to their original beauty by refinishing, painting and sometimes Jim repairing to use in the house and some found new homes with the items they resold at flea markets or their own sales.
As the family grew older and Jan and Jim retired and they sold their home in the twin cities and their cabin on Lobster and built their dream home just 5 lots down from their cabin.
Jan was an avid gardener of flowers and plants including over 550 hosta. Together they completely landscaped their beautiful yard with many varieties of Hosta and perennial plants. Jan taught Jim how to harvest seeds from their impatient plants in the fall, then plant those seeds in the early spring to fill their yard with additional beautiful blooming color. Over the last couple of years when Jan was too weak to continue this activity, Jim actively championed the harvesting, planting and propagating and today, the impatient plants continue to bloom. Jim too continues to care for their beautiful yard, making sure to place pops of color where Jan could see it from her chair in the living room.
On July 12, 2020, after a long fight with a rare leukemia she passed away at home, peacefully with family by her side.
Jan is survived by her husband: James “Jim” Barrett; 5 children: Kimberly (Richard) Horman, Kathleen (Matthew) Anderson, Michael (Vicki) Barrett, Mark (Nancy) Barrett, and Karen Barrett (Jordan Bianchi); 9 grandchildren: Nikki Barrett, Scott Horman, Kristen (Daniel) Christensen, Amy (William) Strattner, Alyssa Anderson, Joseph (Sarah) Anderson, Caleb (Sarah) Barrett, Jenna Barrett, and Thomas Barrett; 5 great-grandchildren; and one brother: Stanley Gulso. She is preceded in death by her parents and one brother: Norman Gulso.