ATHOL- Janet A. (Wilson) Atherton, a lifelong resident of Athol and Orange, Massachusetts, died on Feb. 22, 2021 at age 83 following a long period of illness.
Janet grew up on Exchange St. in Athol as the fifth among seven children of Rodney and Millicent Wilson.
She is survived by her sisters Linda Wilson of Jacksonville Florida and Carolyn Wright of Clarington Ohio, her brother John of Conway Massachusetts, sister-in-law Mary of Gardner Massachusetts, and a large flock of nieces and nephews.
Janet was predeceased by her parents, husband Ernie, brother Warren, and sisters Barbara Cox and Jean Oja.
Janet excelled on the basketball court at Athol High School, and soon afterward became a star player in the locally famous “Orange Devils,” which at one time competed in national women’s finals. She later coached softball, and remained an avid sports fan throughout life.
Janet is remembered in Starrett Tool Co. as a hard worker with a dry sense of humor, love of practical jokes, and prowess in bowling. In middle years she met her true love, the late Ernest Atherton, who was also a Starrett employee. And it was Ernie who introduced Janet to the pleasure of sailing. They spent many happy days on his sloop at Lake Winnipesaukee; also raced a catamaran there.
Raised Congregationalist, toward end of life she became an active member of the Athol Baptist Church. A very outgoing personality, generous to a fault, a lover of sun, sea, and cats, Janet remains in fond memory with family and friends.
Private burial will take place at Orange’s South Cemetery.
The family recommends donations in Janet’s name to the Alzheimers Association: https://act.alz.org
Witty’s Funeral Home, 158 South Main Street, Orange, is assisting the family.
Guest book online at WWW.WITTYFUNERALHOME.COM
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