Janet T. Soukup, a 52-year resident of Mendham, N.J., passed away Aug. 5, 2015, at Morristown Medical Center from lymphoma. She was 82.
The daughter of Edythe and Charles Schmitt, Janet was born in the Bronx, grew up in Scarsdale, N.Y., and spent summers in Mattituck. Her father had a floor covering business, C.H Schmitt & Co., in Tribeca that her mother took over at 47 when he passed, and which she ran until she was 84.
Janet wasn’t interested in floor covering. Instead, her ambitions were artistic, and she spent her life involved in creative pursuits. She was good at everything from oil painting to cake decorating. When an artist was needed, people called Janet, and she rarely said no to requests for her help.
After graduating from Scarsdale High School Janet earned an art education degree in 1955 from Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. It was in Saratoga Springs that she met her future husband, Stanley Soukup of White Plains, a member of the U.S. Air Force and, later, a chemical engineer. They lived in Kettering, Ohio, and Dover, N.J. before moving to Mendham Township in 1963.
Janet started her career teaching art in Briarcliff Manor, N.Y., and, after having her children, resumed it in 1972 as an elementary school art teacher for the Morris School District. She held that position until retiring in 1998, inspiring students with her lessons for 26 years. It was there that she began the tradition of displaying Christmas tree decorations around the Green.
She loved travel and journeyed to Prague with her husband, Stan. They also renovated and spent time at her parents’ 100-year-old house in Mattituck, on a bluff overlooking Great Peconic Bay.
Janet was the first woman president of the Scarsdale Young Republicans Club. She was active in Brookside Community Church in Brookside, N.J., as well as the Garden Club, Book Club and Brookside Women’s Club, which she served as president. She was a Girl Scout leader, president of Morris County Art Educators Association and was active on various committees for the art educators of New Jersey. She was a member of the Alpha Delta Kappa-Rho Chapter of the teacher sorority.
She volunteered at Morristown Memorial Hospital, Meals on Wheels and Mansion in May. She painted a map of Mendham’s historic houses that was displayed for many years at the Brookside library.
She loved her community, her friends and her family, and all of us will miss her terribly.
Janet was predeceased by her husband, Stanley, in 2008. She is survived by two daughters, Alicia Soukup of Mendham and Cheri Soukup of Manhattan; a granddaughter, Sage Anne Thomas; a brother, Charles “Choddie” Schmitt of Mt. Kisco, N.Y.; and a sister, Caryl Anne Speck of Melbourne, Fla.
Visiting hours are set for Thursday, Aug. 13, from 4 to 8 p.m. at Bailey Funeral Home in Mendham, N.J. A memorial service will be held Friday, Aug. 14, at 11 a.m. at Brookside Community Church in Brookside, N.J.
Memorial donations may be sent to Mendham Township First Aid Squad, P.O. Box 122, Brookside, NJ 07926; Carol G. Simon Cancer Center at Morristown Memorial Hospital, 100 Madison Ave., Morristown, NJ 07962; or Brookside Community Church, 8 East Main St., Brookside, NJ 07926.
For condolences, visit baileyfuneral.com.