Janet Schaefer

April 7, 1932 ~ February 10, 2022 (age 89)


Janet “Jan” (Udall) Schaefer, beloved wife, aunt, and friend passed away on February 10, 2022 in Peterborough, New Hampshire. She was 89 years old.

Forever described as kind, gentle, and gracious, Janet devoted her life to helping others. Her generosity of spirit was legendary amongst all who knew her.

Born to Richard M. and Alma (Underwood) Udall in Gardner, MA, Janet spent summers at Underwood Farm in Jaffrey, NH. Upon graduating from Central High School in Valley Stream, NY where her father was Superintendent, she earned an Arts and Science degree from Colby-Sawyer College, New London, NH in 1952.

Janet went on to become a well-respected executive secretary at the architectural firm, Eggers and Higgins, in New York City. While in their employ, she served as president of the New York Chapter of the Architectural Secretaries Association. It was through her work at the firm on the 1964 World’s Fair Schaefer Center, that she met her future husband, Rudolph J. Schaefer, Jr., president and chairman of the board of F. & M. Schaefer Brewing Company. Retiring in 1967, Janet became a devoted wife to Rudy, establishing residence in Mamaroneck, NY for twenty-seven years.

Her many volunteer activities included developing the New Rochelle hospital gift shop and eatery and helping with the design of the Schaefer Maritime Gallery at Mystic Seaport in Mystic, CT. She was also president of the Embroiderers Guild of America Inc, Westchester County Chapter. Janet maintained her fellowship at Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church for several decades. She brought ‘grace and strength’ in her six years as a volunteer for Hospice of Westchester.

Janet became an essential collaborator with her husband, Rudy—an avid sailor, two-time commodore of the Larchmont Yacht Club, and maritime art collector—on the J.E. Buttersworth: 19th Century Marine Painter, published in 1975. (She later continued to research the life and works of this influential British-born American painter and published a revised and updated second edition in 2009.) These books are considered invaluable resources for collectors, marine art owners, and lovers of the sea. Much of her Buttersworth collection was gifted to the Mariner’s Museum of Newport News, VA and Mystic Seaport, Mystic, CT.

After Rudy’s death in 1982, Janet decided to return to her New Hampshire roots and lived in Hancock, NH for eighteen years before moving to a cottage at Rivermead. Her membership of the Monadnock Garden Club was highlighted by garden tours of her beautiful home; a source of great joy to herself and family gatherings. Additionally, she was an active member of the Sharon Arts Board of Trustees.

Because of Janet’s extraordinary support of her alma mater’s Arts Center, the Udall Endowed Scholarship, and the Janet U. Schaefer Memorial Fund she was inducted into the Colby-Sawyer Legends Society in 2005. In 2015, her unwavering commitment to the school earned her the highest honor of the Susan Colgate Cleveland Medal for Distinguished Service award.

Throughout her journey, Janet’s thoughtful and pragmatic approach has been lauded by friends and family alike. When asked how she kept her composure and generous spirit, no matter the circumstance, she would shrug and say “I’ve been given so much, I think it is right to share.” Her devotion to her family’s well-being and steadfast commitment to ‘what is the right thing to do’ has inspired many and will continue to guide us all as we reflect on her essence of goodness.

Janet is predeceased by her brother, Dr. Richard P. Udall, formerly of Glens Falls, NY in 2011; and her dearest cousin, Deborah (Underwood) Brown of Peterborough, NH in 2006.

She is survived by her nephew, Jeffrey (Linda) Udall of Northampton, MA/The Villages, FL, Melissa Stockholm (Robin Decker) of Ferrisburgh, VT and Carin (Charlie) Scalva of Durango, CO. Also surviving are her grandnephews and grandnieces, John Tompkins (Rebecca Lorenz) of NY, Erica Udall of CA, Daniel (Keely) Scalva of CO, and Jennifer (Tyson) Runyan of NM. Additionally, her beloved sister-in-law, Lois Udall and daughter-in-law, Jane (Isdale) Schaefer of Stonington, CT and family; her cousins, Cathy (Eric) Meerbergen of NC, and Abigail (Lewis) Wendell of NY and families; and long-time and devoted friend, Patrice (Skye) Albright of Jaffrey, NH.

Janet Schaefer’s family would like to express their gratitude to Rivermead Assisted Living staff and Nancy Folsom of HCS Peterborough for their compassionate care and kindness.

The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, please make any memorial gifts to: Janet U. Schaefer Memorial Fund at Colby-Sawyer College, New London, NH or the Monadnock Community Hospital, Dept. of Philanthropy, 452 Old Street Road, Peterborough, NH.

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