The Norman Transcript

May 26, 2013

Janet Eleanor Carpenter

The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Janet Eleanor Carpenter, 60, died May 18, 2013. Janet was born on Feb. 9, 1953, in Detroit, to Charles Congden and Mary Frances Pitynski Carpenter, but moved to Norman at the age of six weeks and spent the rest of her life here. She was an Oklahoma Sooner to the core.

Janet was diagnosed as a juvenile (Type I) diabetic at the age of nine and battled many obstacles stemming from that disease for the remainder of her life, including blindness, a kidney transplant, and too many hospital visits and stays for one lifetime.

Despite these significant health problems, Janet maintained an incredibly positive attitude and a fiercely independent spirit.

She graduated from University High School in 1971 and attended Grinnell College.

After losing her sight at the age of 20, she went on to earn a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in Anthropology from OU and even learned to ski. She taught briefly at OU, served as president of the Norman Unitarian Fellowship and the Norman Alliance of Citizens with Disabilities.

To paraphrase Will Rogers, Janet never met anyone she didn’t like. She was kind to all, had countless friends and was an inspiration to many. For many years she spent her days crocheting afghans for Food and Shelter for Friends.

She had a great sense of humor and loved to tell corny jokes. Every February she threw herself a Valentine’s Day/birthday tea party.

She absolutely loved dogs, particularly her service dogs Quasar, Vera, Nanny, Flute and Will. She was a huge Sooners fan and would trade phone calls with her brother after every OU touchdown.

She doted on her nieces and nephew, to whom she was known as “Aunt Nana.”

Her happiest times were summers spent at the OU Biological Station, swimming in the lake, giving art lessons to the younger children, and playing kick the can.

Janet is survived by her parents, Charles and Mary Carpenter of Norman; sister, Caryn and husband Joe Vaughn of Norman; brother, Geoffrey of Bosque Farms, N.M.; nephew, Andrew and wife Mona Vaughn of Oklahoma City; and nieces Katherine Vaughn of Norman and Emilie Carpenter of Bosque Farms. Donations may be made in Janet’s honor to the American Foundation for the Blind,, Guide Dogs for the Blind,, the American Diabetes Association, or Friends of the University of Oklahoma Biological Station

A memorial service will be 11 a.m. on June 8 at West Wind Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 1309 W. Boyd in Norman. Online condolences may be shared at