Janet Marie Burnstedt O'Brien, age 97, of Columbus, Ohio, peacefully left this world on November 11, 2020. She was born February 21, 1923, in Des Moines, Iowa to the late Alma and Henry Burnstedt.
Preceded in death by her brother Lloyd (Hank) Burnstedt and sister Margaret Wallis, Janet is survived by her four children, Gary (Lynne) O'Brien of Columbus, Ohio, Dan (Denise) O'Brien of Timnath, Colorado, Nancy (Ralph) Williamson of Piketon, Ohio and Kathy Vansant of Pickerington, Ohio. In addition, she is survived by eight grandchildren – Todd (Shannon) O’Brien, Chris (Mindy) Williamson, Clay (Katelin) Williamson, Kelly (Braulio) Benitez, Corey (Cory) Williamson, Charlie (Stacey) Vansant, Katie (Tom) Dains, and Robbie Vansant; fourteen great-grandchildren – Olivia and Tatum O’Brien, Caiden and Hadlee Williamson, Savannah and Caleb Williamson, Myles and Drake and Noah Benitez, Autumn and Marshal and Meredith Vansant, Audrey and Luke Dains; and five nieces – Nancy Wallis Schroeder, Mary Jo Wallis Appelt, Helen Burnstedt Lacey Reed, Melinda Burnstedt Legg, and Laurie Burnstedt Stone. Janet is a participant in The Ohio State University College of Medicine Body Donation Program.
Janet graduated from Lincoln High School (Des Moines, Iowa) in 1941. She was a student at Iowa State University and then attended and graduated from The Ohio State University (majoring in Statistics) in 1945. Her love of music began as a young girl who begged for piano lessons.
After graduating from college, Janet started a journey toward becoming one of the best-known musicians in the central Ohio area. Over the last 70 years she has played for Lyric Theatre, Vaudvillities, Columbia Gas Company Chorus, OSU vocal studios, Delaware Community Chorus, Worthington Community Chorus.
For many years she entertained the residents of Wesley Glen Retirement Community, First Community Village and Friendship Village of Columbus where she has lived for more than 30 years.
Janet played for countless private parties, cabarets, pit orchestras, weddings, funerals, choir concerts, and more. She is, perhaps, best known for the years she entertained thousands of customers in piano bars at The Dell Restaurant, The Wine Cellar, Snuggler’s Restaurant, The Ruckmoor Pub, and Milano’s Italian Restaurant.
She taught 3rd grade at Our Lady of Victory, worked at University Music House and Stanton’s Sheet Music. She ended her working career in the Lands and Buildings Department of the City of Columbus.
Janet was continually active in church life serving as the choir director at Central College Presbyterian Church, organist at McKendree United Methodist Church, choir member at Indianola Presbyterian Church, and organist at Christ United Methodist Church.
Janet was inducted into the Columbus Senior Musicians Hall of Fame.
She was loved by many because she gave so much of herself to everyone.
Her family would love to hear about your memories of Janet, so please feel free to share.
Janet is a participant in The Ohio State University College of Medicine body donation program. A celebration of Janet’s life will be planned for a later date, after pandemic conditions are no longer a concern