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Published: Tuesday, 10/6/2009

Business professor taught 30 years at UT

Janet Marie Northrup, 73, a retired University of Toledo business education professor who befriended her students, died Sunday in her Ottawa Hills home.

She suffered from brain cancer that was diagnosed in March, her daughter Ann Marie Lachey said.

Ms. Northrup taught for more than 30 years at the university, teaching shorthand and other business courses, but her favorite part was educating future business teachers, her daughter said.

"She just loved helping students and took a personal interest in caring for the people," her daughter said.

Ms. Northrup started teaching at the University of Toledo in 1960 after beginning her teaching career at the former Whitney Vocational High School two years earlier.

While at the University of Toledo, she was named its Outstanding Teacher of the Year in 1976 and was presented the Outstanding University Woman Award from the University Women's Commission in 1987. Ms. Northrup also was named Educator of the Year in 1983 by the Ohio State Business Education Association.

What she loved best about the job, her daughter said, was interacting with the students.

She would coordinate dinners with her international students to learn about their customs and tell them what it is like here, her daughter said.

Ms. Northrup was a role model for longtime friend and former student Tina Moffat, who went on to become a business teacher for Toledo Public Schools because of Ms. Northrup, she said.

"Once she knew you, you were a friend," Ms. Moffat said. "She made her students feel valuable and worthy. Some professors might be standoffish or might not be extremely cordial, but she made you feel as though you were a friend."

Ms. Northrup became an avid UT sports fan through her husband, Reeves Northrup, whom she met while they were students there.

He died of multiple sclerosis in 1999.

As his caregiver, Ms. Northrup took him to every home Rocket football and basketball game, her daughter said.

And later as "Nana," Ms. Northrup continued attending numerous sporting events to watch her eight grandchildren in soccer, football, and lacrosse, her daughter said.

Ms. Northrup grew up in Toledo and graduated from Libbey High School in 1954.

She received bachelor's and master's degrees in education from the University of Toledo.

She had a true caregiver personality because she put others before herself, her daughter said.

And Ms. Moffat said people were drawn to Ms. Northrup's giving nature.

"People gravitated toward her, to her sparkling personality and her warmth and kindness," Ms. Moffat said. "She was absolutely the sweetest person, most giving and kind person. And fun, she was lively."

Ms. Northrup enjoyed playing bridge, dining out at restaurants, and traveling with family and friends to warmer-weather states such as North Carolina, Florida, and California.

Surviving are her sons, Reeves and Grant Northrup, daughter, Ann Marie Lachey, and eight grandchildren.

The body will be in Walker Funeral Home, 5155 West Sylvania Ave., after 2 p.m. tomorrow.

Services will be at 10:30 a.m. Thursday at Epworth United Methodist Church.

The family suggests tributes to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society of Northwest Ohio, James Cancer Center, or Hospice of Northwest Ohio.



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