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Janet M Walthew

Janet M (Girton) Walthew, age 77, of Lynnwood WA passed away peacefully with family at her side on Thanksgiving Day, November 23, 2023, after a long journey with breast cancer.  She will be dearly missed by her family and a large group of friends with whom she diligently kept in touch over many decades.  

Janet was born in Pasco WA to Fern Bauer Morrison and Frank Girton.  She was a proud Pasco HS Bulldog, Class of ’64.  The Bauer Farm in Ritzville, WA has been in the family since 1884. Janet continued that tradition overseeing the family farm and was active in the Washington Association of Wheat Growers.

She married James F Walthew 56 years ago in Seattle, raising their two children Sarah and David.  

At a young age Janet found healthcare as a place where she could employ her considerable talents.  She worked for over 25 years at Virginia Mason Medical Center in patient financial services, helping people with health insurance and billing issues in a fair and caring manner.  She started as the weekend cashier in 1972, working her way up to senior leadership, ending her carrier as the Director of Marketing for the VM Medicare Choice plan, one of the first of its kind in the US. Described as one who exemplified the “Heart and Soul” of Virginia Mason in the 1980s and 1990s, Janet created and produced the annual Sweet Charity auction to raise funds for uncompensated care for low-income patients. Janet was unmatched in her determination to recruit everyone to participate. Her passion to get things done for the wellbeing of individuals came through every day.

Janet subsequently served as manager of admitting/patient financial services at Providence Hospital (Seattle) and Airlift Northwest.  She was then Director of Patient Financial Services and Patient Access at Northwest Hospital until her retirement in 2017.  Janet devoted considerable volunteer energy helping people obtain health insurance after passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010.  Her professional contributions were recognized by the Healthcare Financial Management Association in 2018 when she received a well-deserved award for lifetime service.

Janet was the definition of a “good friend”- she reached out, shared her thoughts, helped folks through difficult times, and she really cared.  Her opinions, action-orientation, and sense of humor were appreciated by all. She read at least four paper newspapers every day keeping up with news about people, politics and the world.  Janet enjoyed reunions with childhood friends and traveled with her husband Jim to visit ten presidential libraries.  She never missed the annual Wheat Growers convention and could always quote the price of wheat for the day. Her favorite hobby was meeting a friend for lunch.

Janet is survived by her husband Jim, daughter Sarah(Brian) Bodine , son David Walthew, brother Michael Girton, sister Ann Rayment, niece Elaina Stubb, grandchildren David, Grace and Austin and recently born great grandson Desmond.

A Celebration of Life well lived, will be held on Sunday January 14 at 11am-2p, at the Edmonds Waterfront Center, 220 Railroad Ave, Edmonds. 

In lieu of sending flowers Janet asked for donations to NPR at When donating please feel free to donate in honor of Janet.  If you prefer sending it directly the NPR address is:
PO Box 791490
Baltimore, MD 21297-1490


Beautifully written and informative story. Thank you, Janet's family. I hope peace is enveloping your hearts, especially during these holidays. Your friends are thinking about you.

Debbie Gath

A wonderful Life Well Lived and a complete, accurate, and thoughtful obituary. She will indeed be missed by many in the wide world she touched so meaningfully.

Paul Weiden, MD

Janet was the ultimate patient advocate and excelled in every job she was in. She was invariably positive and a friend to those throughout the medical community. I am so glad that I had the chance to talk to her at a recent VM alumni reception.

Dick Kozarek MD

Janet exemplified the old VMMC tagline of “Team Medicine”. She was a positive, goal oriented extrovert who seemed to know everyone’s name. With all her connections, she knew what was happening at all the area hospitals. She should be a role model for healthcare administrators.
Harry Geggel MD

Janet was my best friend at Virginia Mason. We bonded early, having discovered we had a lot in common. I got her hooked on The New York Times, and I introduced her to the transcendent music of Van Morrison. I've been away from Seattle for 26 years, but every time I came back to town, we would meet for lunch or at least a coffee Starbucks. We talked about Democratic politics, movies, music and family. She often said she and Jim were going to come out to Colorado for a visit, but that never happened, understandable since we live in a town of 800 in the middle of nowhere.

Everybody who knew her well will miss her, Peggy and I among them.

David Zehring

Janet was instrumental in guiding Mary McHugh's career in healthcare. Damn breast cancer takes so many great people. I know Janet and Mary are taking care of business in the afterlife.

Tony Olney

How could you not love Janet? Well-informed. Opinionated. Direct and outspoken. She could speak with ease on anything from how the weather affects wheat prices to the situation in the Middle East. At her core, Janet was a kind, open, welcoming person. Generous. A perfect host and an appreciative guest. She sought out and helped people on the margins, who were alone, who needed a word of encouragement, and more. I feel honored to having known her and spend time with her and her wonderful family. She is a great example of how to live: Authentically. Boldly. Honestly. Bless you, Dear Janet, you will long be remembered and cherished.
George Hein

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