Janet Eagleson Deacon passed away Thursday, Oct. 17, at the age of 84 and has now rejoined her beloved husband of 60 years.
Janet was born and raised in Philadelphia. As a child, she was bedridden for years with rheumatic fever, recovered in grade school, and went on to graduate high school from the Stevens School in Germantown. She attended Penn State University before marrying Amos Rogers Little Deacon, Jr. in 1955 when she was 19, with two children, first Stephanie, then Amos III, following rapidly. The small family moved to Southern California in 1962, settling in the City of Orange.
During her years as a young homemaker, Janet participated fully in her children’s lives, including serving as Girl Scout leader and PTA president. She also went back to school, completed her degree at CSU Fullerton, and then worked in urban planning with Alfred Gobar Associates before taking “early retirement.” In 1975, Janet’s family moved up to Orange Park Acres where they established residence on Windes Dr. and remained for the next 42 years, until the home was tragically lost in the Canyon 2 Fire of 2017.
Janet’s most prominent accomplishment was her involvement with the J.F. Shea Therapeutic Riding Center. In 1978, she started as a volunteer “side walker,” assisting youngsters with disabilities as they rode around the arena on her OPA property, as the “north county satellite location” of the then-named Fran Joswick Riding Center. Over the course of the next 30-plus years, Janet deepened her participation, serving as board member and ultimately as board president of the Shea Center.
Janet is survived by son and daughter-in-law Amos R.L. Deacon III and Terry Hart Deacon of Orange; daughter and son-in-law Stephanie W.D. Aho and Toivo Aho, and grandchildren Raymond Jenkins and Connor and Malia Aho, all of Irvine; grandson Trevor Jenkins of Robbinsville, NJ; her sister Martha Eagleson Chesluk of Vancouver, BC; and brother Clegg Eagleson of Reston, VA.
Janet lived an extraordinary life filled with travel, service, cultural pursuits, and close ties with family and friends. She and her Tuesday lunch bunch enjoyed decades of weekly riding and bridge, and she was a doting Grandma. All who knew her remember her with great esteem and affection. We deeply appreciate all your love and support. There will be a private family memorial.
In lieu of flowers, we suggest donations be made to the Shea Center.