OBIT JanetKolstad

Janet Kolstad, of Los Altos, CA, lost her courageous battle with Glioblastoma brain cancer on May 11, 2018.

Beloved wife of Christopher, and mother of Alexander and Julia, Janet is also survived by her mother, Jean Hood of Pittsburgh, PA, sisters Jennifer (Michael Butensky) Hood of Los Altos and Jacqueline (Richard) Barnes of Pittsburgh, PA, as well as nieces and nephews Max and Hannah Butensky, Benjamin and Abigayle Barnes, parents-in-law Linda Kolstad, Chuck Kolstad and Pattie Graves, and sister-in-law Andrea Kolstad. Janet lost her father, James Hood, earlier this year, also to cancer.

Janet graduated from the University of Pittsburgh and then started her career in California as a software engineer at ROLM, and then Octel where she met Chris, and then Placeware. She met Chris, not because they worked together, but because Chris thought she was cute and a tall woman would be a good fit for his volleyball team. She always had a passion for children and music, so when their second child, Julia, was preschool age, Janet taught at Tiny Tots and Los Altos Parent Preschool (LAPP). While at LAPP she obtained her master’s degree in early childhood education at Pacific Oaks College in parallel. She was a very smart and driven woman, graduating cum laude. After graduation, she continued as an adjunct professor at Pacific Oaks as well as taking on management of the pre-school and teaching. Janet served as docent, board member, secretary and president for Music for Minors. Her last position was as Director of the Preschool Program at St. Timothy’s Church in Mountain View for the last four years, essentially growing the program from scratch for the neighborhood. She was “Teacher Janet” to hundreds of children. Janet was an avid volunteer in local schools, neighborhoods, Los Altos Boy Scouts Troop 33, and Girl Scouts SU 608.

In recent years, Janet found a love of hiking, after taking trips with the Boy Scouts while her son, Alex, progressed to Eagle Scout. On these hikes, she met a few like-minded women and through them and some friends, formed the “Hikey Ladies” who hiked well beyond the initiating Boy Scout trips. She hiked part of the John Muir Trail, the Lost Coast, Death Valley, various places in the Sierras and Yosemite. Her last backpacking trip was in mid September 2017 where she hiked for a week and summitted Mt. Whitney before becoming ill a few weeks later. She was truly amazing in both spirit and strength.

Janet and Chris celebrated their joint 100th birthday (both turned 50) in September 2017. Many friends and family helped them to celebrate that joyous event. They continued to enjoy music concerts at the Mountain Winery and other venues.

Services were held at St. Timothy’s Church in Mountain View, May 18. As her battle with Lynch Syndrome is what led to her cancer, the family requests donations in her memory to Lynch Syndrome International (, or the UCSF Neuro-Oncology Department ( where she was treated, in lieu of flowers.

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