Janet Hitchings

Obituary of Janet Lorraine Hitchings

Janet Hitchings made the world’s best Cinnamon Buns. Yes, she accomplished many other things, but the quality of her cinnamon buns cannot be overstated.   Those buns were legend in the Family and were requested on special occasions.  Neighbours stood at the door of her condo to bask in the smell of those cinnamon buns, and hope for some of Janet’s well-known generosity.

Janet married Lawrence Hitchings in October 1957 (deceased April 2000).  They had five children: Ed, Laurie, Tim (Karen), Joe, and Dan; Seven grandchildren (Nichole, Nathan (Michelle), Alex, Luke (Amber), Shawn, Ryan (Niketa), and Brandy (Matt); and twelve great-grandchildren Jerik, Reece, Lana, Ethan, Oliver, Hannah, Isabelle, Kaden, Colton, Stephen, Sophia, and Dominic.     

Janet and Lawrence’s home served as a gathering space year-round, for the many nieces and nephews, and neighbourhood kids.  All kids had an open invitation to step inside anytime. If they were lucky, Auntie Janet had been baking recently, or making fudge, or making biscuits.  Everything she made was amazing, but the cinnamon buns were always the biggest score.  Janet loved having kids around and cared for, and loved, many of the family’s children over the years, earning her the name Granny Janny.  Lawrence and Janet would also pack extra kids into the car for snowmobile trips, camping trips or just for a drive in the country.  Those trips often included great picnics in an old, blue cooler and kool-aid in a thermal jug.
Janet had a love of learning and language was her thing.  She went to the Canada Senior Games five times, entered in the Scrabble Tournament.  She won 3 Canadian Gold Medals and 2 Canadian Silver Medals.  She always got the Wheel of Fortune puzzles right, and because Janet also had a love of trivia, she was a zealous watcher of Jeopardy, too. She often mocked the participants on both shows for not knowing the “easy” answers.  

Janet subscribed to the Globe and Mail paper edition, which she read cover to cover, except the sports section, which she gave away, as it was not interesting to her.  She would do the crossword puzzles every day.  If she hadn’t completed the regular and cryptic puzzles within an hour, we knew she was stuck on a “pop-culture” question.  She had no interest in movie stars, singers, influencers, etc.  She could, however, name provincial, federal and world leaders and tell you what they were doing wrong.  

Janet was also a very creative person and received many accolades and awards over the years for her fine embroidery and crochet work.  Her vast collection of Ribbons and Medals was proudly on display on her fireplace.  

Janet had a wicked sense of humour and enjoyed jokes, even at her own expense.  If you were lucky, you would be close enough to hear some of her zingers muttered under her breath.  This became easier as she progressively lost her hearing and her mutters became ever louder.  Her best jokes will long outlive her, and some have travelled further than she has.

Janet’s life began in Edson Alberta on December 2, 1936.  She joined a family of 12 other children and would welcome another two sisters.  Her many sisters became her best friends, a friendship that would continue until the end.  In the last 25 years, up to four of them lived independently in the same condo building.  It became known in the Family as the “Aunt Hill” as it was full of Aunts.  It is still the go-to gathering place for the Family.

Janet and her sisters, travelled all over Canada and the world, taking many trips, and cruises.  Sometimes the trips included her children, sister-in-law, nieces, or friends. She is one of the few Canadians who have visited every Province and Territory in Canada.  The Aunties have some great memories of those trips together, and have entertained us for hours with tales of adventures that included seeing the glow worm caves, whale watching, getting lost, camel riding in the desert, illegal markets that disappeared when the police showed up, having luggage stolen off a train, being welcomed by the mayor of a small Japanese town, visiting Russia, seeing Polar Bears and more.  Her favourite stops were museums, and she brought back books from each of them, so she could study the artwork and artifacts and marvel over them at home.  She often expressed her gratitude that she had the opportunity to see and do so much and do it with her sisters.  

Janet passed away suddenly, but peacefully, on April 18, 2024, with all her children by her side.  Her instructions included having a family and friends picnic this summer, but no formal services.  Arrangements will be announced later.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Canadian Cancer Society or the Terry Fox Foundation.

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