Jan Rathbun - photo from The Colebrook Historical Society's Facebook page.
Jan Rathbun - photo from The Colebrook Historical Society's Facebook page.
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From The Colebrook Historical Sociey’s Facebook page:

It is with deep sorrow that we announce the passing of Jan Rathbun on Friday, September 25, 2020. Jan was a unique woman, a very special woman. She was bright, beautiful, funny, energetic, kind, thoughtful and generous to a fault. We may not see her like again.

Jan was a longtime resident of Norfolk and Colebrook. She believed in giving back to her community and she “put her money where her mouth was”. She served on the governing Boards of the Colebrook Associates, Foothills Visiting Nurses Association, Northwest Connecticut Community Foundation and Battell Arts Foundation. She was a member of the Norfolk Library Associates and a hospice volunteer. But nowhere was her service more valued than at the Colebrook Historical Society.

Jan served 3 terms as co-president of the CHS, and several more terms as president on her own. Her contributions were innumerable. She felt strongly that the society should serve the Colebrook community at large. She set about finding ways to do it and came up with the idea of “Friday Night Gatherings”. The society would be open to all on four Friday evenings during the season. A local speaker would be invited to share their expertise with those gathered in an atmosphere of laughter and lively conversation, not to mention a little libation and loads of refreshments. Jan got this program off the ground and every year thereafter she personally scoured the community for interesting speakers, then proceeded to pin them down. Not every one of her “targets” was as enthused about the idea as Jan was, but her charming powers of persuasion invariably carried the day. Other community events – our open houses, concerts, ice cream socials, tea parties, etc, – all profited from Jan’s strong and steady direction.

Jan loved people and they loved her. She knew how to bring people together, how to get them excited about an event or a project. She knew that everyone must feel their efforts are appreciated, and she made sure they did. Jan was always available for help or advice, or if you just needed a good laugh. Nothing was too big or too small for her to tackle. She may have given us a glamorous performance of The Ghost of Christmas Past in our production of “Once Upon a Scrooge”, but on Wednesday mornings you could find her in old jeans and a work shirt, helping to paint the walls of The Seymour Inn.

We will never forget Jan. She’ll live on at the Colebrook Historical Society. You’ll find her in the exhibits she helped create, in the period furniture she hunted down to make the restoration of the Inn just right, in the desks at the Rock School, in the myriad of other things she touched and loved and worked for. Most of all, you will always find Jan in our hearts.

Read Jan’s Obituary here:
https://www.montano-shea.com/obituaries/Janet-Jan-Hall-Rathbun?obId=18464342

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