Janet VanNatta


Janet L. VanNatta, of Columbus, Indiana, went to be with her Lord April 20, 2017.

Born May 19, 1933, in Winchester, Indiana, Janet was the daughter of Herman and Mary Alice Holdeman. Shortly after high school, Janet met the love of her life, Chuck VanNatta. Their mutual love of music brought them together, as he was the new high school band director there, and she was a talented pianist and organist with music career aspirations of her own. Within six months of meeting, they were married on April 18, 1954. This past week marked their 63rd wedding anniversary.

Janet was a very ambitious person, having accomplished many things in her life, and was always eager for new experiences. In Columbus, she and Chuck raised four children, with her as a homemaker while they were young. While maintaining her home and raising school-aged children, she desired and pursued a college education and attained both bachelor and master’s degrees in elementary education at Indiana University, graduating with honors. She then taught at Rockcreek Elementary School. Team teaching with her good friend and mentor, Naomi Goble, and then seeing the fruits of her labors in the development of her students were the highlights of her career. She truly cared about the well-being of each student in her care. Janet was a teacher at heart. She delighted both in the learning and the sharing of new-found knowledge.

Janet and Chuck were active members of Asbury United Methodist Church. He directed the choir for many years and for four of those she was the organist, then later sang in the choir. Their work together brought musical excellence and heightened fellowship to the congregation. They were also travel enthusiasts, visiting most every continent and experiencing different cultures and peoples. During their travels, in many a hotel lobby or cruise ship, Janet was asked to play piano, and she gladly did, for she did not need music to play beautifully.

She is survived by her husband, Chuck VanNatta of Columbus; children, Curtis (Sherri) VanNatta of Seymour, Kimberly (Paul) Schultz of Columbus and Kathy VanNatta Baxter of Bloomington; grandchildren, Cameron (Ashley) VanNatta of Seymour, Brittany (Michael) Perez of Columbus, Allison (Ryan) McKay of Columbus, Joshua Baxter of Baltimore, Maryland and Jenna Baxter of Bloomington; and great-grandchildren, Samuel, Gabriel and Olivia Perez of Columbus, and another due later this summer. She is also survived by sisters, Linda (Max) Zimmerman of Columbia City, Indiana and Sheri (Gary) Huston of Winchester, Indiana.

She was preceded in death by her parents; and a son, Craig A. VanNatta.

A memorial service will be conducted at 2 p.m. followed by a time of fellowship on May 6, 2017, at Asbury United Methodist Church, Columbus, Indiana. Family and friends are invited to share in this celebration of Janet’s life. Memorials may be made to Asbury United Methodist Church. The Asbury choir will sing at the service and friends are invited to join the choir. Please meet at 1 p.m. in the choir room for rehearsal.

Arrangements are entrusted to Jewell-Rittman Family Funeral Home.

You are invited to light a virtual candle and send a message to the family via the internet.