Janet Rietveld ’62 Fishbain
Janet (Rietveld) Fishbain, 80, of Madison, passed away on Saturday, June 26, 2021, after a short battle with pneumonia, at St. Mary’s Hospital. Born Jan. 18, 1941, in Chicago Heights, Ill., to Isaac and Elizabeth (Bardwick) Rietveld, Janet spent her youth on the family farm riding her horse, participating in 4H, and spending time with her extended Rietveld family. After graduating from Bloom Township High School, Janet got her degree in English education from Hope College in Holland, Mich., and her master’s degree in English literature from University of Colorado in Boulder. Done with school, Janet moved to Racine to start her teaching career at Horlick High School. While at Horlick, Janet met history teacher and football coach, Jerome Fishbain, and the two wed on June 18, 1966, at the Rietveld family farm.
Janet loved teaching English, regardless of where she was. Over the years she taught at three different high schools in Racine, at UW-River Falls, as a substitute in the Madison Metropolitan School District and at Madison Area Technical College, but her longest and favorite stint was at the University of Wisconsin Writing Center. During her 30-year tenure at the center, Janet helped thousands of students improve their writing skills, and in 2002 she was awarded the Chancellor’s Hilldale Award for Excellence in Teaching.
When Janet wasn’t teaching, you could always find her working on some sort of handiwork – particularly knitting and quilting. Her gorgeous hand-knit sweaters were only for family, but many friends were lucky enough to receive hand-knit socks, mittens, scarves or hats, handcrafted jewelry, handmade quilts and baby blankets as gifts. She was so prolific with her creations that her children would often suggest she sell what she made, but she insisted she only liked to make things for people she loved.
Janet is survived by her husband, Jerome; her children, Jason, Sarah (Chris) Leonard and Rachael (Dan) Hagen; her three grandchildren, Dagan and Alisana Fishbain and Jacob Leonard; and her two step-grandchildren, Brea and Reese Hagen.