Jan Wharton, much loved mother, grandmother and friend, passed away peacefully on Dec. 23, 2014, in Santa Barbara, Calif., after a long struggle with Alzheimer’s disease.
Jan was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Aug. 19, 1937, the only child of John and Phyllis Wharton. Jan spent most of her early years in Denver, Colo., and graduated from East High in 1955 before spending two years studying at the University of Colorado at Boulder. She then moved to New York and earned her secretarial degree from the Katharine Gibbs School in 1961.
On Oct. 9, 1961, she married a young Air Force pilot, Gerald (Jerry) Gould, and spent the next 16 years traveling with him around the globe. They had two daughters: their first, Elizabeth, born in Virginia and their second, Kate, born in the Philippines. Her particular passion was to immerse herself in the language and culture of wherever she found herself, and her favorite time was the five years they were stationed in Taiwan, where she studied Mandarin Chinese.
Jerry retired from the Air Force in 1977 and the family moved to Carpinteria. Jan loved the beauty and small-town feel of Carpinteria and made many wonderful friends there. Jan and Jerry divorced in 1988, but Jan stayed on in Carpinteria, working in office administration, including at Presidio Realty and at the Vedder Ranch. She left in 2002 when she married her old friend, Robert Hopf, and ultimately settled in Santa Barbara.
Jan’s favorite things were always her family and friends, her beloved pets, playing the piano, reading and, of course, studying language: German, Latin, Tagalog, Yiddish and the endlessly-fascinating Chinese.
She is survived by her daughters, Elizabeth Gould and Kate Parker; son-in-law Ian Parker; grandchildren Alex and Dylan Basescu and Adam, Simon and Nicola Parker; and ex-husband and very dear friend Jerry Gould. Her husband Robert Hopf preceded her in death. Friends who want to honor her memory can make a donation to the Alzheimer’s Association by clicking here.
We will miss her always.