Below are the kind words and stories others have shared about Janet. Please feel free to share your own comments and stories about Janet at the bottom of this page. If you would like to share photos or music to be put up on this website, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marivi Marivi, July 19, 2016
This is beyond amazing, as I have said many times it's still not real for me. As far as music we enjoyed Billie Holiday and Miles Davis. A perfect morning had started in Vermont one day, the sun was shinning on the breakfast table, that Janet had perfectly adorned and set. Sunflowers were everywhere. Billie was playing in the background, she was happy really happy. We drank mimosa's while being serenaded, until John realizes .. Hey you have never cooked me breakfast!!! I still laugh thinking of John's face while the epiphany was invading his head.
Sharon Cohn Campbell, February 29, 2016
It's been 10 days since my dear friend Janet departed this world after fighting a brief and brutal battle with cancer. While in my heart I know she is in a better place, it hasn't gotten any easier. I met Janet through (then boyfriend) Steve when we were dating, and his great taste in friends immediately sealed the deal for us as a couple. Janet and I became close: we had a strong musical connection which meant late nights singing and playing guitar together, winter ski trips, sharing hopes and dreams, etc... I introduced her to my own friends, some whom she became close with long after I moved away. Even after moving to California 14 years ago, our friendship thrived. Janet came out often; she got to know our children, experience Norcal musical camping festivals and experienced the SF foodie scene.
Many of us traveled from the four corners of the world to say goodbye and send her off on to her next adventure. It was uplifting to see the wonderful people that Kirsten and Tommy grew up to be and to share in the outpouring of love for Janet. What was remarkable is that we all shared the same sentiments: Janet was brilliant, beautiful, selfless and exceptionally talented. She made friends easily and connected with everyone on an intense level. In the face of adversity, she had grace and strength. She was a wonderful, loyal, non-judgmental friend who always had a listening ear, encouraged you to find your creative spirit and had a window to your soul. Despite the frenetic pace of her intense career (and personal life) she always had time for you. How could Janet give so much of herself and maintain this depth of friendship with so many of us?
Janet gave us a lifelong gift in each other: an incredible network of loving friends that we can reach out to, whether for comfort when grieving or sharing joy in her memories. While I have great sadness, I find peace knowing that I am not alone. I hope this is the same for you.
Rest I peace my dear friend. I will love you forever.
Love, love, love and more love,
Steve Lueker, February 25, 2016
I've been at a loss for words to express Ms. Janet's passing across this life's threshold. These say it all:
Childhood living is easy to do
The things you wanted, I bought them for you
Graceful lady, you know who I am
You know I can't let you slide through my hands
Wild horses couldn't drag me away
Wild, wild horses, couldn't drag me away
I watched you suffer a dull aching pain
Now you decided to show me the same
No sweeping exits or offstage lines
Could make me feel bitter or treat you unkind
Wild horses couldn't drag me away
Wild, wild horses, couldn't drag me away
I know I've dreamed you, a sin and a lie
I have my freedom but I don't have much time
Faith has been broken, tears must be cried
Let's do some living, after we die
Wild horses couldn't drag me away
Wild, wild horses, we'll ride them some day
Wild horses couldn't drag me away
Wild, wild horses, we'll ride them some day
Christine Gooch, February 23, 2016
Good night my friend. May you rest in peace and may you eternally know how many lives you touched during your short adventure here on this earth. The setting sun can be seen every day from any place on earth, and we can take solace in knowing that like the sun, we will see you again in another place, in another time.
Marivi Wolfe, February 23, 2016
This is were I leave you...On Jan 9 we spoke of all the things we were doing this year .. Paris, spin class, buying a vineyard... All conversations were tethered with a song lyric and or theme .. We laughed about how "we get It" during the last month we texted each-other from different hospital rooms in moments that appeared lucid, looking back at the texts not so much. Yet the theme was still about what are we doing next. As you worried about me, I worried about you. I never thought I wouldn't have the opportunity to have proper closure ..but then again whats proper. Somehow I know this is what you wanted, you are forever in my heart as are the secrets that we kept like little school girls. On my to do list : fix the Baby Taylor.. And get lessons. "This world was never meant for someone as beautiful as you"
Steve Campbell, February 23, 2016
Words cannot express my sadness at the loss earlier today of my dear friend Janet Koehne. They say that the brightest stars sometimes burn the shortest. None were brighter than Janet. As sad as I am, I will always be thankful that she was a part of my life.
“When she shall die,
Take her and cut her out in little stars,
And she will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night
And pay no worship to the garish sun.”
Clarisa Cerro, February 21, 2016
Today I lost my dear friend and almost sister Janet to cancer...it sucks....and the only thing I can think of is how short life is...so I want to ask all of you to please be kind to each other, smile to your neighbors in the elevator, say good morning to your doorman, tell your kids how much you love them everyday, call your parents often to check on them and enjoy life to the fullest. Te voy a extrañar Juanita.
I met Janet in the late 90's in NYC. She was one of my first friends in the city and my only friend in my first job. We became friends right away and were neighbors twice during our lives. My friendship with her was one of those that everyone wishes to have with someone. We would see each other from time to time but every time it felt as if we had never stopped talking to each other. We would catch up in minutes and then talk for hours and hours. She cared so much about me, like a big sister....I will miss you enormously.... Heaven just became a better place...
Rose Tirelli, February 21, 2016
I wanted to share that my friendship with Janet was definitely part of the plan. See, it all started with our dads. My dad came here from Spain in 1948. He met Bill Harris, Janet's dad, and became best friends. They rode their bikes in the streets of Manhattan, went to the movies, even attended the same school. Janet and I rode our bikes in the streets of Queens with her cousins Angela and Chris. We went to the movies, listened endlessly to the Beatles, watched SNL and went to a Greek summer camp that the only highlight was the frozen little milk cartons we'd take from the freezer. At 14 we decided that Janet was tall enough to get liquor from a formidable liquor store and she did, much to our surprise. That night we got all ready to try it out. Cheap vodka and Hennessy. Small bottles but enough for us to laugh so much that our bellies hurt. We couldn't stand up so we crawled into the kitchen and her mom looked at us thought we were crazy and continued to cook dinner. Bobby asked what is wrong you crazy girls and locked himself in his room. I could go on but I wanted to share this bit of history with my friends, especially with my two kids Kristen Mammolito and Jonathan Mammolito, with Kristen and Tommy. You will live in my heart until we meet again.
Susan Urkevich, February 21, 2016
My dearest friend Janet passed away on Friday night. Janet taught me the meaning of friendship. She was one of the most genuine people I have ever known. My heart has a gigantic hole now and I will miss her dearly.
Pamela Haylock Combastet, February 21, 2016
Farewell, my dear friend! I've known you since the very late 80's… No one else I know was taught by the same nuns or remembered the school uniform… just you and me and the memories of the many Sister Mary Somethings at St. Catherine's! Your knowledge of music was a passion we shared. I remember your thrill of being given a wawa pedal for your guitar! And you were always such a cheerleader! My own world will not be the same. Please… Rest in Peace, and out of pain.
Laura Spinelli, February 21, 2016
These beautiful tributes have inspired me to share...
Janet would tell you (and probably has) that ours was the strangest friendship. We met in 1990 at the ‘ear’ bar in downtown NYC. We were both with our boyfriends of the time. She- an international banker, me- a 7th avenue fashionista. As we all know, Janet made friends easily and everywhere. We couldn’t be more different yet immediately connected…and remained friends for these 25 + years. NYC memories..nights of salsa dancing, Sunday morning brunches, and our guilty pleasure of the occasional visit to a psychic…
I moved out of NYC in the mid-nineties, and henceforth a large part of our friendship was via telephone. Long, soulful chats and A LOT of laughs. Mostly gallows humor about life’s heartbreaks, changes and challenges. We were the kind of friends that would always pick up right where we left off- even if we hadn’t spoken for a while. They say you truly know who your real friends are when they stick around when the chips are down Well, that was Janet she was about the only one of my NYC friends who not only stuck around but was a cheerleader and supporter when I decided to embark upon solo parenthood.
Her generosity—just one example of many--When my young son demonstrated signs of musical ability, she promptly bought him guitar for Christmas. And, her generosity of spirit-when everyone else in my life was convinced I had been making some crazy life choices, she was always there, ever encouraging, never judging. She was the person to whom you could reveal all of your flaws and secrets--not only would she be non-judgmental (and share a few of her own, lol) she had the ability to spin these secrets and flaws into something really extraordinary, necessary, life-affirming, and ‘cool’. She always recognized the best in people and made you believe it!
Yes, our friendship was unusual. A few years back we took a screenwriting class together. We were determined to write about our lives as friends—sort of a (hipper) ‘Beaches’ , meets ‘Love Actually’, peppered with a bit of ‘Interview with a Vampire’ (ha-ha don’t ask)
Through the years, Janet incessantly invited me to parties, to travel with her,etc…invitations which I often declined due to the (necessary) encumbrances of being a solo, working parent. Finally, a couple of years ago, I was able to meet her in Italy. I am so very grateful for that trip in numerous ways. One of the days, we toured around beautiful Tuscany. You could tell that Janet had planned every moment of this day and it was wonderful. Upon reflection, we both agreed that it was one of the most memorable and best days of our lives. Grateful beyond expression that I have those memories.
More recently, we’d joke about the time when we would actually live in the same city—when I would finally be able to meet her other friends, and we would hang out with our cats, playing music , creating art , laughing at life and, oh yes, finishing that screenplay.
Janet - you are beloved, you have left your imprint on so many lives. So thankful for that fateful drunken night 25+ years ago when our unorthodox yet binding friendship began. I celebrate you and your example of a life well-lived.
Nora Nelst, February 21, 2016
I learned this evening of the death of Janet today too soon to cancer. She will be mourned deeply by all that loved her, of which there are many, including my beloved Rose Tirelli, Janet’s childhood and lifelong best friend. There will be much to share, and I would like to tell of the gift that Janet bestowed on me when I was 26 years old.
Janet had balls. She taught me to be brave, and gave me an amazing opportunity to learn that maybe I had a set too.
I was scared of everything: literally to cross the street; to speak up for myself; for sure I was scared of traveling to Europe on my own. It’s embarrassing to admit that I was that young-minded at an age when one should be exploring the world fearlessly as did my friends who back-packed across countries, making transient friends along the way, sharing beers and laughs only to depart to a new city and to new friends, memories they will always cherish. I envied them so, but only because I wished was part of it, but also with the knowledge I would have been too scared to enjoy it.
Even though I always acted like the mother hen of the group, Janet and Rose had a few years on me, not that one could tell by their shenanigans (I’m talking about you too, Lisa Ann). So one evening over dinner, again lamenting my broken heart over the *love of my life* for the thousandth-fucking time, Janet invited me to meet her in Paris.
She worked for a French bank at the time, spoke the language fluently, and was stationed for at least a month at a time at luxury hotels, along with a generous stipend for meals; but even so after work a loneliness pervaded her nights without her husband to share them with as he, too, had his own professional obligations in the states and his own travels.
So I said yes.
I booked the worst flight itinerary possible; then, upon arriving, I of course hopped into the first taxi that offered me a ride, simply relieved to find one, but, of course learning later I was lucky to have made it safely to the hotel where Janet was staying but though wallet was definitely lighter. That’s the best outcome of my naiveté, so lesson learned.
I walked and walked, seeing every sight I could, and each venture on my own was a thrillingly new experience.
In the evenings Janet and I would have dinners together. I love food, and she made certain each night was an experience unique to Paris. Not one was the same. There was the classic swanky French bistro, with small doted-upon dogs on banquettes seated like royalty alongside the owners, the staff attending to us of course speaking perfect English as well as French, though Janet always ordered for us in her perfect allocution; each night from there we ventured further into every nuanced, true Parisian gastronomic experience. It was wonderful, and even though ironically I could actually read a French menu better than she (but still not speak well), Janet’s command of the language in general made the slightly jarring alien feeling of my days that much more comforting.
There was the day I spent at the Louvre when while observing the bust of the Venus de Milo, a man asked me a question in French, to which I responded I only spoke English: he adroitly asked if he might take my photo because I was so beautiful. I looked at him, looked at the statue, and replied that he should be sure to use his camera on what is known to be the most beautiful female form ever created and not waste it on me. I was quite proud of myself, and proud to recant it to Janet later.
I was even prouder still when I ordered myself a crepe and understood enough to answer “oui” when the vendor asked if I would like it “avec sucre.” That must have been my last day in Paris because of the curveball Janet threw me that evening.
Our last night was as authentic as it gets. This was 13 years ago but I imagine the true neighborhood restaurants filled with the thick, heavy smoke of filterless cigarettes smoked in tandem with the meals served, and murky glasses of Pernod flowing freely, have not changed much. This night, our last, as we settled at our table, Janet decreed I would be ordering the entire dinner. She would not help me. And, here’s the thing: unlike the more refined bistros with the lap-dogs, no one here spoke English; and even if our server did, she was not about to assist my frightened-saucer-eyed self. She seemed quite to delight in it actually. I did well, though I’m sure it was torture to those in earshot; with one exception: when I ordered my steak, the server asked if I wanted it “saignant,” and in such a way as if this is how every reasonable human would want one’s steak. I was relieved to say, “oui, merci,” and be done with the ordeal my dear Janet had subjected me to. I was sweating by the time the order was through, and also by that time learned I find Pernod disgusting. The order was in and the food was on its way, and I’d managed not to embarrass us terribly (Janet found it wonderfully amusing anyhow and wouldn’t have minded a moment had I erred.)
Before I continue, I should mention we ordered steak tartare on at least one occasion that trip, but it was a restaurant known for doing it well, and of course it was expected to be raw.
My steak though. It was barely cooked. Apparently “saignant” means “just singed.” “barely singed.” But, I took the attitude of “when in Rome,” though I was in France. And you know what? That steak was delicious! Janet and I also got very drunk off of good French wine, so that may have helped. It was a trip I will never forget, and Janet made it possible because she knew it would be good for me, and also, too because she loved the company; I was honored.
I never thanked Janet for what that trip became for me as the years went on…. It was a moment in my life that my narrative shifted and I shed many things, including fears (and that stupid broken heart) that held me back from so much. I owe moving to New York City to Janet, really. In Paris, when she punctuated the end of long days of explorations with her company asking excitedly about all I’d done, she allowed me to see I wasn’t really so frightened after all, or perhaps that life itself when you embrace it isn’t that frightening. The latter is correct. I’m sure of it.
(Even though when I returned to the states, I immediately gave up my contraband French sausages without even being asked. I was forever the one getting caught as a kid at everything, why would my luck change then?)
This loss is too great a tragedy to fully comprehend: Janet’s beloved husband dying of cancer at 52 in November; her brother and father not long before. Speaking to Rose tonight, through tears, we were able to laugh about how big Janet’s life truly was, and how there is no way her soul sister from The Heights is leaving her side. Not ever. Even if she has to be a pain in the ass. Rosie, I’m so sorry for you, and for Jon Mammolito and Kristen Mammolito to lose their aunt; for Janet’s mother; and for Janet and John’s darling children. Her end was so difficult and that will, with time, subside (small solace, of course), but I know that Janet’s is a life that will continue to touch others as she did mine so long ago, changing the course of who I am. It is too hard to think of her not being present; she must be. I love you, Rose, I’m so sorry you lost your sister but she will always be by your side.
Tommy Koehne, February 21, 2016
Janet, my second mother and my best friend. One of the most amazing people I've ever met. The woman who explained what "culture" means to me. I can't express how lucky I am to meet Janet 15 years ago. She was undoubtably the coolest person I have ever met. If you ever experienced Janet playing blues guitar, then you know what exactly I am saying. I love you Janet. I hope you find peace wherever you are
Jamie Lueker, February 20, 2016
We are so saddened today by the loss of our friend Janet Koehne . It was only a few months ago that we were celebrating her 50th birthday in New Orleans.
Every time Steve plays a tune on his guitar we will think of you and know you are listening in peace.
Mavis Scanlon, February 20, 2016
RIP Janet. Your time here was too short, but I will always remember your killer smile, your contagious laugh, your optimism, your incredible strength, and your beautiful, musical soul. So many beautiful tributes and loving memories of Janet. You've touched so many people with your kindness, laughter, love of life and love of music. Moving forward from this deeply sad day, I hope that is a comfort to everyone who loves you.
Sean Smith, February 20, 2016
Farewell Janet. I am so grateful for all the time we had together. You burned so brightly, that the stars in heaven seem a fitting tribute.
Janet Koehne died today. It has been just shy of three months since John Koehne died. It seems that despite their sometimes tumultuous relationship, they could not be apart for long. Janet had a supernatural ability to hail a cab. She would leap out into the middle of traffic, waving both arms over her head, and a cab would cut across several lanes of traffic for her, a cab that no one else had seen. It was as if she called the cab from the vasty deep. She had a great laugh. If she found something especially funny, she would put her hands to her side and straighten her back and throw her head back and could not speak until her laughter subsided. I took joy in making Janet laugh. There were no casual conversations with Janet. She was intense and always tried to bore into the center of your soul. I would usually answer her with something absurd, just to get her to laugh. Janet was very kind and generous to me during a very dark period of my life. I would not be here today without her help, and the help of others. I hope that I was even half as good a friend to her as she was to me. Adios, Mi Amiga, vaya con Dios.
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