Janet Gillen

Obituary of Janet Gillen


Janet Gillen

1923 – 2020


Born April 1923 in Vallejo, California to Charles F. Osborn and Elizabeth Osborn.

Died at age 97 in San Diego, California, October 2020.


Her father was a Naval officer and the family relocated frequently with his military assignments.  After he passed away, mom finished high school in Brooklyn, New York, went to junior college in Kansas and eventually rejoined her mother in Palo Alto, California.  She graduated from Stanford University in 1945 with Phi Beta Kappa honors.  She then worked as a Physical Therapist in San Francisco.  In 1946, she met Lawrence B. Carroll Jr and became Mrs. Carroll in October 1953.  They moved to Chicago, Illinois and the family expanded with four children.  In 1959, her husband died and her mother moved to Evanston Illinois to help the young widow.


During the Summer of 1964, mom moved the entire family to San Diego so she could be close to her sister, Mary McGregor.  Within six months of relocating, her mother was diagnosed with cancer.  Mom and her kids cared for her mother, at home, until she died in 1966.


In 1972, she married Edward “Fred” Gillen.  Her children went to college and eventually all lived in San Diego.  The family continued going to picnics in warm weather and dinners out in cold weather to celebrate together everyone’s birthday, and every holiday.  After her six grandchildren arrived, we had about 16 birthdays a year to celebrate together.  Our family gatherings always included mom’s sister Mary, Mary’s daughter Bonnie and husband John.


Mom always loved her garden and spent each day caring for it.  Her children regularly gave her cut flowers to put into vases and potted plants to add to her garden.  She especially enjoyed the Botanical Garden in Balboa Park and belonged to the Point Loma Garden Club.  She also belonged to the Assembly in Point Loma.  She and Fred would play bridge each week with their multiple bridge groups.  Over a 56-year period, mom cared for five dogs.


In 1992, her brother Charles died of lymphoma.  In 2005, her husband of 33 years, Fred, died.  In 2018, her sister Mary, whom she spoke to on the phone every day, died.


As mom’s body and mind deteriorated over the last 3 years, she continued to meet life with cheerfulness and humor.  Her caregivers said that she was a blast and they enjoyed talking with her and kidding around with her.  Shortly before mom died, she reflected on her life and said “It wasn’t easy; it wasn’t impossible”.


Mom leaves behind four children: Mark Carroll, John (Yolanda) Carroll, Jan (Zoubir) Ouadah and Chris (Cathy) Carroll; six grandchildren Larry Carroll, John Carroll, Joe (Stephanie) Ouadah, Sarah (Dan) Capostagno, Brett (Kelsey) Carroll, and Dani Carroll; and one greatgrandchild Michael Ouadah.  Mom’s nieces and nephews include Rob McGregor Jr., Bonnie (John) Rush, Gae Melford, Nancy McMahan, Charles (Celine) Osborn, Steve Osborn, John F. Carroll, David (Clair) Pegues and Joe (Nancy Curtis) Pegues.

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