Janet Louise Flora
May 3, 1956 – March 26, 2019
Janet Louise “Jan” Flora, 62, died March 26, 2019. She was born May 3, 1956, to Robert and Alberta Flora of San Francisco, the second child of three.
Raised in a rollicking Irish Catholic, blue collar family, the Floras had been construction contractors for two generations in the Bay Area. Attending Catholic grammar and public high school, she set records for cross country running. Like her family before her, she turned to the trades after school. Welding in the shipyards for Bethlehem Steel and Kaiser Industries, she dreamed of going to Alaska where her father told stories of his time there in World War II.
The opportunity came in 1989 when she paired up with Bud Goodall, team leader of a dredge crew in the Fortymile Country. Jan fell in love immediately with the country, its people, and the history of her newly adopted state. She began writing for the California International Mining Journal and found herself longing to return to school.
At the invitation of Lou Busby, Jan came to Homer in the fall of 1996, a good place to winter with a small cottage springing up. Earning an associates degree in the arts, she was named a winner in the annual Homer writing contest. Her essay spoke of a Fortymile trapper who offered to “buy” her from Bud Goodall for 125marten skins.
From this led to recognition by “Women in the Workplace.” Esther Wunnicke and Fran Ulmer were leading this forum and impressed Jan with examples for women of distinction in the state of Alaska.
While cutting firewood out East End Road, Jan discovered bachelor rancher Chris Rainwater. Their lives were entwined for 25 years. Jan was a strong proponent of communities feeding themselves. Growing local became a passion for her. She served on the Farm Bureau board of directors at the statewide level, then as officer and president of the Kenai Peninsula chapter. Traveling to Juneau and Washington, D.C., as a citizen lobbyist, she made valuable contacts with principals and staff that have endured till this day.
With the crash of 2008 and the stimulus program came the high-tunnel grow-house phenomenon to Homer. Jan acquired two high tunnels and devoted much of her waking hours to horticulture. She facilitated and moderated the Homer High Tunnel forum, an online collaboration of 1,700 growers with a worldwide footprint. Her fierce defense of liberal democracy and the importance of all voices to the shaping of our common destiny will surely endure because of her life on this planet.
She is survived by her Uncle Eddy of Reno, Nevada; her brothers Wayne and Richard, and their wives and families of San Francisco.
A celebration of her life will be held from 2-5 p.m. May 18, 2019, at the Down East Saloon in Homer. All who were touched by her presence are invited to share stories of her time with us.