Janice Harlow Mead


Janice Harlow (Brett) Mead, “Jan,” died peacefully on Martha’s Vineyard on Dec. 28, 2016.

Jan was born on March 27, 1925, the youngest of four daughters of Alden and Kathrene Brett. She grew up in Belmont, graduated from the Brimmer School in Boston, and attended Wheaton College in Norton. During WWII she worked for Polaroid, and later for Filene’s. In 1951, she married the late Varnum Russell Mead. They made their home in Lincoln, where she actively volunteered at her daughters’ school, in the coffee shop at Emerson Hospital, and with the local equestrian 4-H.

She was a summer resident of Martha’s Vineyard until 1990, when she and her husband made their house on Lagoon Pond their permanent home. On the Vineyard she was an active member of the Garden Club, and of the East Chop Tennis Club, and she played golf at Farm Neck weekly. (About golf she said, “This game gives new meaning to the word ’frustration’!”) But she was most proud of the work she did as a member of the building committee for the renovation of the Vineyard Haven Public Library. In this role, she worked tirelessly to raise funds and get the new library up and running.

She is survived by her daughters, Dorothy Pitt and husband Christopher, and Susan Mead and partner Michael Perry; as well as her grandchildren, Louisa Connaughton, Philip Pitt, and Martha Fortin, and her great-granddaughter, Elizabeth Connaughton.

A memorial service celebrating Jan’s life will be held at the First Congregational Church, West Tisbury, on Tuesday, Jan. 17, at 1:30, with a reception following at the Agricultural Hall in West Tisbury. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Jan’s name to Friends of the Vineyard Haven Public Library, Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary, or Boston Symphony Orchestra.