Janet VanDerlip, 79, Was Formerly of Oak Bluffs

Janet VanDerlip, 79, of Naubuc Green, Glastonbury, Conn., died peacefully with her family by her side on Wednesday, Oct. 30. She was born in Athens, N.Y., in 1923, the daughter of Frank Best and Helena Sheffield. She was valedictorian of the class of 1941 at Catskill High School.

Janet had been a year-round resident of Uncas avenue in Oak Bluffs from 1975 to 1980 and previously had owned a summer home on the Camp Ground during the 1960s, living there during the year of 1967. On the Vineyard, she started her own day care center and worked as an activist on behalf of the elderly and the rights of the Indians. She was an active member of Grace Episcopal Church in Vineyard Haven. She supported the arts, including Island Theatre Workshop and Martha's Vineyard Children's Theatre, and forged a lifelong love of theatre in two of her children, Harriette Holmes and Carol VanDerlip. She loved clamming with her special friend, Jim Silva of Vineyard Haven, and walking Island beaches. The support of Mrs. Katherine Mazza assisted her in pursuing college studies at Lesley College in Cambridge (in early childhood education); Mrs. Mazza and her daughter, Mary Kay Mazza, allowed Harriette to stay with them overnight once a week, every week, during each semester of her studies. Janet stayed in Boston overnight for her classes; she was always deeply grateful.

Janet's life was marked by her passion for nature, for the downtrodden and for progressive causes, all tempered by her wry humor. She is remembered for her advocacy for environmental interests, peace and human rights, and passes a legacy of social consciousness, independence of spirit and love of learning to her children and grandchildren. Her adventurous spirit and quest for family connection are reflected in the many places she called home, from Athens, N.Y., to Glastonbury, Conn., Martha's Vineyard and Brownsville, Ore.

Janet was predeceased by her husbands, Loring VanDerlip and Arthur F. Holmes, and by her brother, Paul Best. She is survived by her sister, Lois Wagner, and her loving children, David VanDerlip and wife Rachel and Peter VanDerlip of Oregon, Lowell VanDerlip of Vermont, Harriette Holmes, Carol VanDerlip, Jane VanDerlip and daughter Sarah, all of Connecticut. In addition to 11 grandchildren, she also leaves five great-grandchildren, nieces Judy Wagner and Betsy Miklas, friends at Naubuc Green and special friends Mary and Bob Merritt of Glastonbury.

There are no calling hours. Friends and relatives are invited to gather to share memories and to celebrate Janet's life at a memorial service and reception on Saturday, Nov. 9, at 11 a.m. at the Congregational Church of South Glastonbury, corner of High and Main streets. Private interment will follow.

Memorial donations may be made to the Clearwater or Horace Bushnell Church Children's Food Pantry c/o Glastonbury Funeral Home, 450 New London Turnpike, Glastonbury, CT 06033.