Janet Sue Armstrong was born January 2nd, 1941, at the Santa Fe railroad hospital in La Junta Colorado to Joe and Elda Armstrong. Her father was an engineer and worked for the Santa Fe railroad and her Mother was a homemaker and baker extraordinaire. Janet was raised in La Junta and she passed along many wonderful memories of her life growing up in the valley. Janet's Father Joe was a kind, hard-working, and honest man and she would attribute her work ethic to her Daddy. Janet's first job was working at the Opera House Pharmacy counter. She said it was there where she realized she had the gift to Gab. Janet truly enjoyed her high school years. It was there she was given her nickname “Jan”. In school, Jan was involved in the club “HI-Teens” and was the Teen group secretary her senior year. Jan was also part of the Pep Club, F.H.A., Chorus, Art Club and was a proud member of the Rainbow Sorority for many years. She compared her time in high school to the TV show Happy Days… car hops, sock hops drive-in theatre, and all. She graduated from La Junta high school in the class of 1958. After high school, she went on to attend Otero junior college in La Junta for one year where she studied music and “pool”. While attending OJC, she became engaged to Ben Johnson, a young man that had stolen his first kiss from Jan in the fifth grade. The young couple exchanged their wedding vows in 1960 at the Presbyterian Church in La Junta. Soon after they gave birth to their first child Jon in January of 1961. After the birth of Jon, Janet started working at the Safeway grocery store in La Junta and worked there for several years. At Safeway, she loved serving her hometown friends and family and loved her job very much. Janet always has had a “passion for fashion” and had dreams of becoming a hairdresser since she was a young girl. Janet went out on a limb and with the help of her husband and her parents to look over Jon, Janet enrolled in a beauty college in Pueblo. She drove from La Junta to Pueblo every day for two years to obtain her beauty license. Once she had her license, she wasted no time until she opened Jan's beauty shop in La Junta in 1969. She had five operator stations and very much loved her new venture. Janet proudly maintained that same license until just a few years ago.
From there came two more children to the happy couple, Jace in 1968, and in 1972 Janet finally was blessed with her precious baby girl JaNae. Janet and Benny always had a dream of moving their little family to Pagosa Springs where they could raise their kids in a small mountain town. Ben’s family regularly visited Pagosa for a week or so every summer since the late 1940s to escape the summer heat of La Junta. A perfect opportunity to move to Pagosa opened up in the summer of 1973 when the Chevrolet car dealership went up for sale. Ben had been selling cars at William Chevrolet in La Junta for several years so it was a perfect fit. Janet and Ben purchased the dealership and the old A-frame house on Mesa Heights and moved their 3 kids to Pagosa. The couple immersed themselves in the community and thoroughly enjoyed becoming a part of their new little hometown paradise. Janet picked up skiing, tennis and loved playing golf as much as she could. Honestly, there wasn’t anything Janet wouldn’t try…she was quite the daredevil believe it or not. The family attended First Southern Baptist church in town where Janet loved to sing in the choir and occasionally blessed everyone with her piano playing. In 1979 Ben and Janet sold the dealership to Bob Joslyn and the couple parted ways.
In the autumn of 1979, Janet started working for Dave and Dorothy Goodman at Goodman’s department store. While at Goodman’s, Janet's love for the Lord, her compassion for others, and her kind heart literally poured out to tens of thousands of customers over the 40-plus of working there. Her children were told countless times over the years that “Your Mother was the first person I met when I came to town” or “It is because of her, we decided to move here”.
In the autumn of 1984, Janet married her true knight in shining armor, Junior Sorenson. Junior took Janet and her 3 children and his 2 children Jo Jo and Randy and melded a wonderful family…one that Janet would cherish forever. It wasn’t long until the proud couple welcomed their first of 11 grandchildren and from then on Janet and Junior eternally became Pa and Mema. For the next 38 years, the two of them were inseparable. You could see them anywhere from the Ember Glow Restaurant or knocking the dust off their boots on the dance floor at the County Fair. Of course, they hardly ever missed a Pirate basketball or football game…ever! Last year our precious Pa went to heaven and Mema’s heart and soul were never the same. She lived the best life she possibly could but Mema continued a slow decline. On July 25, Mema was reunited with both loves her life, her Glorious Lord and Savior, and her precious Pa who we all know was waiting at the pearly gates with open arms.
A long life, well lived, a blessing to all who knew her she will be laid to rest at Hill Top next to her husband Junior. She was also preceded in death by her parents Joe and Elda Armstrong, Brother Donald Armstrong, Sister Linda Boyd, and granddaughter Kennedy Faith Christians. Janet is survived by her children; Jon (Michelle) Johnson, Jace (Kindolyn) Johnson, JaNae (Brent) Christians, Jo Jo (Kahle) Charles, and Randy Sorenson, 11 grandchildren and 4.5 great-grandchildren.
Services for Janet will be held on August 5th, 2023 at 10 am at CenterPoint Church, 2750 Cornerstone Drive, Pagosa Springs Co. 81147.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Janet’s honor can be made to http://Cornerstoneprojectco.org.