Janet Stevenson

Thursday, January 16, 2020
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Janet Louise Jacobson Stevenson, 70, passed peacefully in the presence of loved ones on Jan. 3, 2020, after battling CML leukemia.

She was born on Oct. 9, 1949, in Williston, North Dakota, to John Garvin and Dorothy Jacobson. On the family farm outside of Alexander, North Dakota, Janet cultivated her love of reading books, playing the piano and organ, and raising animals. Janet traveled to Sweden as a foreign exchange student in her high school junior year, gaining a Swedish sister, Inger. She excelled academically, graduating high school top of her class while balancing cheerleading, socializing and home life.  

Janet studied at Cottey College in Nevada, Missouri, where she met many lifelong friends. She followed in the footsteps of her mother, graduated cum laude from the University of North Dakota in elementary and early childhood education. She earned a master’s degree in early childhood education from Eastern Montana College, now called Montana State University Billings.

After college, Janet worked as a kindergarten teacher in Lodge Grass and Wyola. She fell in love with Gary Stevenson of Lodge Grass, the local grocer and they wed in 1972. Janet retired from teaching after their two daughters, Jill and Kaja, were born.  

In 1982, Gary and Janet moved to Hardin to expand the grocery business. They quickly became active in the community helping to build the Hardin Food Bank, volunteering with the Chamber of Commerce and the Big Horn County Historical Museum. Gary and Janet retired in 2004 and moved to Billings in 2010.  

Janet’s interests included, playing the piano and organ, teaching Sunday school and volunteering at the Big Horn County Historical Museum gift shop. She was an active member with Hardin Christ Evangelical and Reformed  Church, Billings Joy Lutheran, P.E.O. Sisterhood, Eastern Star, Rainbow and many quilt groups. Janet loved to travel and visited South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Peru, China, Japan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, most European countries and every US state except Rhode Island.  

Gary and Janet hosted foreign exchange students: Nazgul from Kyrgyzstan, Michael from Germany, Alisher from Kazakhstan and Madleine from Germany. Jill’s best friend, Georgette Hogan (Sam) Boggio, lived with the Stevensons at times and Janet referred to her as her “other daughter.” Throughout her life, Janet was known for her love of friends, family, quilts, books and music.  

She is survived by her husband Gary Stevenson of Billings; daughters, Jill (Brian Mathis) of Billings and Kaja (Charles Cavanaugh) of Phoenix; brothers, James (Barbara) Jacobson of Alexander, North Dakota, and John Jacobson of Swan Lake; sisterin-law, Nancy Caporale; brotherin-law, Sam Stevenson; and many extended family members.

Services were held on Jan. 11, 2020 at Christ Evangelical and Reformed Church. Janet has been cremated and will be interred at the Jacobson plot in Alexander, North Dakota and the Stevenson plot in Lodge Grass with family ceremonies.  

Memorial donations may be made in her name to the Big Horn County Historical Museum, Cottey College Class of ‘69 scholarship, Hardin Christ E&R Church, Trinity Lutheran Church of Alexander, North Dakota or Billings Joy Lutheran Church.

A special thanks to oncologist Dr. Silva and the Billings Clinic staff.

Heights Family Funeral Home was entrusted with the arrangements.