Janet Leigh Castle, 67, was a loving and beloved sister, mother and grandmother. Born in Newport News, Virginia in1953, she passed on September 22, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware. Janet was a longtime sufferer of chronic pain and respiratory illness and recently suffered bereavement after the passing of a dear friend. She had recently moved into a new apartment from Manor Care, Skilled Nursing Care Facility.
The youngest of four sisters, Janet was a precocious youth and was raised cooperatively by her mother and sisters on the streets of Newport News in the shadows of the Naval Yards from where it is suspected her father worked, but whose identity remains a mystery. As children, she and her sisters were estranged from their mother, Ann Kay Crowder, and became wards of the state of Virginia until they were reconciled in later years. Janet led a complicated life driven by bad taste in men, particularly those in uniform, and consequent limited options.
Pregnancy at seventeen set the tone for the remainder of her youth. Despite challenging circumstances, she was an ever devoted mother who never allowed her children to suffer material want even through relocation to every corner of the US including Delaware, Texas, Alaska and Missouri.
She earned a living as a skilled accountant and office manager. Janet was unafraid to get grease under her nails by replacing an alternator on one of the gigantic vehicles which she loved to own. As lifelong learner she became an award winning martial artist and graduated high school with her daughter, Tahra, at the age of 39 from William Penn High School, the same school from which she had been expelled decades prior. Shortly thereafter, spinal injury, migraines and dependence on pain medication prevented her from holding employment. Janet was private and lived by the precept that “what others don’t know about you can’t hurt you.” which kept her from forming close bonds. Despite her secretive nature, she was always happy to get a phone call and loved to gossip. To her final day she was inquisitive, intelligent, creative, stubborn and proud. Even after her decline she could often be found at home running wiring, disassembling an appliance or repairing a coffee pot. Janet was not given to esoteric flights of philosophical or pious fancy. Her religion was a science fiction. She watched the movie Independence Day daily and knew the script of every Star Trek episode by heart. Her fervent wish was that her mortal remains would be scattered in space one day. She loved without fear and respected everyone for their unique abilities, perspectives and gifts. She is irreplaceable and yet memories of her bring joy and solace to those lucky enough to have them.
She is survived by two daughters, Cora Leigh Castle and Tahra Dale-Victoria Blankenship, one grandson, Archer Aaron Klein Castle as well as two sisters Rhonda Kay Sweider and Vivian Ann Crowder Mayes. She was preceded in passing by her mother Ann Kay Crowder and sister, Sandra Green. Janet was four times married and a four time divorcee.
Her memorial service will be held at 10:00 am on Monday October 5, 2020 at Gebhart Funeral Home, 3401 Philadelphia Pike Claymont, Delaware 19703.
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