Obituary: Janet Szijj

Beloved mother, grandmother, traveler, lifelong learner

Beloved mother and grandmother, Janet Szijj died on October 22 at the age of 89 with family at her side.

Janet was born in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin in 1934, the first of five children of Ford and Eileen Wittgraf. The family soon moved to St. Paul, Minnesota where Janet grew up, eventually joined by her three sisters, Judy, Mary and Cathy, and her brother John.

After graduating high school, she attended college at the University of Minnesota. She continued to pursue studies at Grinnell College in Iowa and Loyola University in Chicago. She met Laszlo, an instructor, who recently arrived from Hungary by way of Canada at Loyola. They married and moved to Southern California when he was hired as a professor at Cal Poly Pomona. They eventually settled in Claremont where they started a family.

She had a 30-year career with the Los Angeles County Department of Children’s Services. She was passionate about her job and helped countless children and families.  She also made lifelong friends there that she continued to see regularly. 

She loved the arts and literature, was an avid reader, and loved attending plays and concerts. She never lost her love of learning and continued auditing classes at the Claremont Colleges well into her 80s.

She also loved to travel, and went all over the world with her kids, brothers and sisters, extended family, and friends. Her favorite trip was Africa, but she loved train travel and road trips as well. 

 After a very long courtship, she married her last husband, Booker Stevens in 2011 in the backyard of her beloved Claremont home, where she lived for more than 60 years. 

She is survived by her son Antal, his wife Marianne, their daughter Audrey; and by her daughter Eva and her wife Tera. 

Funeral services will be held at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, November 18 at Todd Memorial Chapel, 570 N. Garey Ave., Pomona, CA 91767.


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