Obituaries » Janet Merrill
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May 29, 2022
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Janet Louise Merrill, PhD. passed away on Sunday, May 29, 2022 in Sandpoint, Idaho at the age of 93. Memorial services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 25, 2022 at the First Lutheran Church in Sandpoint with Pastor Steve Neuder officiating.
Janet was born on March 16, 1929 in Missoula, Montana, the only child of Dr. Archibald and Mrs. Lou Alta Merrill. She spent her summers at the beloved family cabin on Seeley Lake, where she became a practiced swimmer, diver, and boater.
Following her graduation from Missoula County High School in 1947, she attended Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania and earned her degree in psychology in 1951. She married Richard B. Roeder in 1953. They returned to Montana in 1957, settling in Bozeman, where Richard was a history professor. Always ready to lend a hand, Janet was a busy community volunteer and a devoted wife and mother.
Richard and Janet divorced in 1977. It was at that time that Janet went back to college, eventually earning her PhD in psychology from Washington State University in 1980.
In 1979, she married George (Gus) Hossack. They moved to Miles City, Montana in 1982, where Janet joined Gus as a clinical psychologist at the Pine Hills School for Boys. In 1986, Janet and Gus moved to Great Falls, where they opened a private practice together called Giant Springs Counseling Associates. They operated the practice until Gus’s health began to fail. He passed away in early 2001.
As a counseling psychologist, Janet loved, healed, and influenced hundreds of people. She was a committed advocate and nurturing presence in the lives of many.
Janet married Todd H. Trefts in August of 2001. She decided to join him in Sandpoint, Idaho, happy to return to a life on the lake. Janet continued to practice as a clinical psychologist on a part-time basis while she and Todd enjoyed spending time with their families on the lake or in the woods.
After a long battle with cancer, Todd passed away in 2009, with Janet at his side. Following Todd’s death, Janet continued her professional practice on her own terms, often seeing clients at her kitchen table over tea and her famous gingersnap cookies. She took her final clients at age 85.
Janet lived with grace and joy. She wrote poetry. She danced whenever she could. She made a tradition of standing on her head every year on her birthday, stopping only on doctor’s orders, at the age of 77.
Janet is survived by her two daughters Ellen (Scot) Pfalzgraff of Sandpoint, ID, and Karin (Lee) Langbehn of Great Falls, MT; one son, Tom Roeder of Sagle, ID; four grandchildren, Rebekkah Anderson, Elizabeth Wallen, Will (Cristina) Pfalzgraff, and Katie Pfalzgraff; and three great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her parents, husbands Gus Hossack and Todd Trefts, and one grandson, William Wallen.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association or the Sandpoint Area Seniors Association.