In Memory

Janet Bengtson (Leahy)

Our classmate, Pat (Richey) Wanzenberg, just provided the following information about Janet (Bengston) Leahy:
It is with a heavy heart that I send news of Janet (Bengston) Leahy’s passing on June 4, 2023.  Her death was sudden and unexpected.  The diagnosis was Vasculitis, an autoimmune disease that took her in 19 days.  I met Janet in 7th grade at Nicholas junior high and we have been best friends ever since.  Janet loved life more than anyone I have ever known.  She was strong, kind, very loving and loved fifty and sixties music.  Janet taught at Misericordia Home in Chicago for years.  Her ability to reach her very young, handicapped students was something to behold.  She worked with many families teaching their children sign language and how to cope with everyday tasks.  She leaves behind her husband Fran, son John, daughters Dina and Nora and 4 grandchildren that she adored.  There will be a memorial at a later date.   It is such loss.


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06/07/23 03:18 PM #1    

Sherwin "Jay" Siegall

Janets passing is just devestating!  I have gotton teary eyed at dozens of these sad notices. Janet was one of the most beautiful people inside and out. Upon being notified of her passing 2 days ago I just came to a stop unable to work the rest of the day!. Janet was a girl/lady I've adored since I met her at Nichols.

 I was so looking forward to seeing her next Feb or March when I was hopinfg to have another mini reunion at my home in Florida as she would usually attend. Next years mini reunion the 60th year of our graduation will have a huge void without Janet's presence!. 2 days later I still well up with tears as I write this.

 RIP beautiful lady. So many will miss you and I cant imagine the loss felt by Fran and her kids and grand kids. :-(

06/08/23 06:28 AM #2    

Molly McCracken (Schwarzman)

Janet and I were best friends in high school.  We were like sisters and shared so many memories.  Janet lived with my family for about a year during this time.  I was in her wedding to Randy.  She loved to dance, talk and laugh.  

Janet will be missed by her family and so many friends.  

RIP old friend.


06/08/23 10:46 AM #3    

Edward Leach

Godspeed Janet!

06/08/23 04:36 PM #4    

Robert Lindner

I remember Janet from Nichols.

So here is my Nichols salute

To her.


On the Grand Canal


The Gondolier will row

With her to the Piazza San Marco,

Past Palazzo Doge,

Where a happy day

Passed for us on our way

To distant futures that we could not know,

When Nichol’s school would show

The architecture of the Palazzo,

And we would sing her praise,

Sing of the happy days,

As loud voices would raise.

Then along time’s canal we all would go

With the gondolier, who

Will know the way past Saint Marco’s square to

Go, where the white dove cries,

Under the bridge of sighs

And brings heaven’s new prize

To the hall of memories. And we knew

Her once before and we

Try to take time to find the memory

But time has passed us by

And we are where doves cry

Too often and the sky

That’s above the Piazza is hazy

But we’re on Canale

Grande and there the Palazzo Doge

Showed us the way. And we

Were there and so was she,

When gondolier would be

Rowing and singing of that happy day.

When we were together

In that time so long ago when we were

Blessed by youth and our song

We now sing with voices strong

With love that can’t be wrong

As we recall and say goodbye to her.






06/08/23 05:46 PM #5    

Stephen Smith

As usual my friend, well done, you really should get these published! Oops, that was for the poem , I really did not know Janet but from the comments must have been super gal.

06/10/23 01:00 PM #6    

Lee Saberson

Mike Melton introduced me to Janet in jr high. She was a delightful person. Beautiful and sweet. Rest in Peace, Janet

06/10/23 02:47 PM #7    

Pauline Noznick (Gerstein)

I did not know Janet in high school and any fellow alum passing makes me sad. I loved Robert's poem about her, especially his references to Venice. I taught at Nichols for 25 years, and the Venitian part of the school was fading.  The ceramic tiles are still there, but many of the things you might remember are gone--the mural that showed voting in the early US was taken down and now is in storage, the Gondelier is called the yearbook now.  The  stone lions are still there, but no one calls them Jeepers and Creepers anymore. The sports teams are the Lions.The stone "bench" outside the office, is still there and teachers continue to threaten to send students there when/if they misbehave. The school colors, once crimson and gray, are now red and white. It's still a great schooI and I enjoyed my years teaching there. And I forgot, there is a phone and computer in every classroom and the new addition has air conditioning.






06/10/23 04:54 PM #8    

Lincoln Krochmal

I did not know Janet but mourn the loss of another of our colleagues. From all the comments from those who knew Janet, I really wish we would have met along the way at Nichols or ETHS. the poem by Robert is outstanding as always and a beautiful tribute to a beautiful classmate. May Godspeed.

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