Janice Peterson never shied away from a lively debate or an opportunity to prove her comprehensive command of language, art, politics, philosophy and communication. She loved her family and friends fiercely and proved it every day of her life. She died May 7, after a long and brave battle against lung cancer.
Janice Lindsay was born in Compton, California, and lived there with her father Bill, her mother Hazel and her older brother Billy. She graduated from Manuel Dominguez High School in 1961 and attended Long Beach State College. She got a job at Disneyland and quickly became Walt Disney’s favorite monorail driver.
1963 was a big year for Janice. She fell deeply in love with another favored monorail driver, her husband-to-be Rich Peterson, got married, got pregnant, had a baby and moved to Santa Barbara, in approximately that order. Rich began his career with the Santa Barbara City Fire Department, and Janice continued her education at the University of California at Santa Barbara.
Janice earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees and took pride in that accomplishment, because at that time they were raising two children while living in a tiny house trailer, while Rich was building their home in the mountains above Santa Barbara. Following her graduation, she became a highly respected professor of speech and debate at UCSB and later at Santa Barbara City College.
Janice directed the Honors program at SBCC and was also president of the Academic Senate. She also started a Toastmasters group at the Lompoc Federal Penitentiary and taught prisoners how to become confident public speakers.
Janice and Rich moved to San Juan Island in 2002, where Janice quickly became immersed in island life. She became a member of Kiwanis, Rotary and the San Juan Island Yacht Club. She joined the SJ Community Theatre board and served as board president. As a columnist for the online newspaper “Island Guardian,” she had many followers of her regular postings, which still can be found on the site.
Janice was elected to the San Juan County charter review commission with the largest vote percentage in her district. She fought valiantly from a minority position to retain the original charter, to no avail. She loved boating and being a Yacht Club member. She enjoyed crabbing, shrimping, photography and all of the benefits of the island. She was known for her beautiful handwriting, her love of microphones and her unbelievable knowledge of every topic known to man.
Janice is survived by her loving husband of 55 years, Rich Peterson; her brother Bill Lindsay of Bend, Oregon; her son Eric, daughter-in-law Kit, and grandchildren Phoebe and Zander, of Santa Barbara; her daughter Kira and grandchildren Audrey and Eric Sable; and former son-in-law John Sable of San Juan Island; as well as hundreds of friends in Santa Barbara and Friday Harbor.
Janice had a huge personality, and for those that knew her well, a sharp edge that none will ever forget. She will be missed by all whom she touched.
A celebration of Janice’s life will be held from 5–8 p.m. on Thursday, June 14, at the San Juan Island Yacht Club. All of Janice’s friends are invited.