Janet Ruth Esthus Speicher - Des Moines, Iowa


October 14, 1929 – April 23, 2020


Janet was born in Grand Rapids, MI and lived with her family in Green Bay and Whitefish Bay, WI before finally settling in Des Moines, IA. She attended Roosevelt High School, where she met the love of her life Jim Speicher. Janet attended Iowa State University and graduated from University of Northern Iowa with a degree in Home Economics. In college she was a member of Alpha Delta Pi and participated in synchronized swimming.


On June 21, 1952, she and Jim were married. While he was in the U. S. Air Force they lived in Cheyenne, WY and El Paso, TX where they met lifelong friends. Jim and Janet returned to Des Moines and Jim’s family business Bolton and Hay. While living in West Des Moines they had a son, John Speicher, and a daughter Karen Speicher. They later moved to an acreage in Waukee.


Janet was a loving Home-Ec mom and grandmother. “A mom is all I wanted to be.” she said. She is remembered for cooking meals, baking cookies, sewing doll clothes for the Salvation Army Christmas “dress a doll” program and playing games of Sorry. Janet kept score at Junior golf, worked the ribbon table at swim meets and attended many dance recitals and sporting events of her children and grandchildren.


Janet also found time for community involvement. She was a member of the Waukee Woman’s Club, holding offices at the local and district levels and leading conventions at the State level. To hone her speaking skills, she became a member and eventually President of a local Toastmasters chapter.


Janet continued her love of activity playing tennis at the Racquet Club and Des Moines Golf and Country Club. She had a wicked cross court shot at the net with her Prince racquet. She also participated in the Mother-Daughter swim races with Karen.


Education was a family priority. Janet bought many books for her grandchildren, supported book drives and education through Woman’s Club, and volunteered at Eason Elementary school in the reading program with students.


Janet will be remembered for her kindness, graciousness, sharp wit, and occasional “zingers.”


Janet is preceded in death by her parents, Lyder and Ruth Esthus, brother Donald M. Esthus, sister Barbara J. Esthus, and husband James Speicher, Jr. She is survived by her son, John Speicher and granddaughter Jaime Speicher Fischer, and daughter Karen Speicher and grandson Ian Giese.


The family would like to thank Deerfield staff and Unity Point Hospice for their care in the past year. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Deerfield Education Fund, Des Moines Golf and Country Club Scholarship program, Waukee Public Library Foundation, or charity of your choice.


Due to the current COVID-19 restrictions, there will be a private family service with a Celebration of Life service at a later date. Online condolences will be welcomed at IlesCares.com.