Janet Beik

November 24, 1953 - December 25, 2022


Janet Beik, of Freedom, PA died peacefully on December 25, 2022 after a long, courageous battle with cancer. Janet was born in Fayetteville Arkansas to Leland and Ruth (McVay) Beik, the third of their six children. She is survived by sisters Donna Wulff, Paula Beik (Evan) and Linda Beik, her brother David Beik (Patti), and five nieces and nephews. Janet was preceded in death by her parents, sister Carol Mack (Greg), and husband Robert Claus.
Janet graduated from State College Area High School, received a Bachelor of Arts in History from Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, and earned Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in African Studies from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. During her studies at Wisconsin, Janet served two years in the Peace Corps in Niger, West Africa and spent two additional years there under a Fulbright scholarship. Janet published her dissertation, Hausa Theatre in Niger: A Contemporary Oral Art, and several articles on Hausa Theatre traditions.
Janet began her career with the U.S. Department of State Foreign Service as a political officer at the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum, Sudan where she met her future husband, Robert Claus. She then served as a consular officer at the U.S. Consulate in Montreal, Quebec. Janet and Robert were married in Disneyland in 1988 and posted together in Banjul, The Gambia, a post of six Americans. Other overseas assignments included Kampala, Uganda and Regional Refugee Coordinator for West Africa based in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Janet then took a sabbatical with one year as foreign policy advisor to Senator Joseph Lieberman and one year earning a Master’s degree in National Security Strategy at the National War College, Fort McNair, Washington, D.C. Her assignments in Washington included positions in the African and the Pacific Islands Bureaus, the Bureau of International Organizations and as senior Adviser to the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization in the Office of the Secretary of State. Janet’s last post was as Deputy U.S. Representative to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in The Hague, Netherlands. The Department of State awarded Janet three Meritorious and three Superior Honor awards for her work and she was honored by having two children named for her in the Gambia and Ivory Coast.
Janet retired after 25 years of service, and Janet and Robert moved to the Liberty Hills community in Freedom, PA in 2010. In retirement, Janet loved travel, reading, yoga, tutoring at a local Kindergarten and co-chairing a women’s social club at Liberty Hills. She provided care for Robert over his own long battle with cancer until his death in 2017. Janet was a beloved wife / daughter / sister / aunt; a trusted colleague; and a treasured friend who will be missed by many around the world.
A memorial service will be held at a future date. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the American Cancer Society or The Center for Hope, Ambridge, PA.

Professional arrangements are entrusted to Devlin Funeral Home of Cranberry

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  • James & Shirley McGee

    We met Janet and Robert in Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire in 1998. As in most Foreign Service posts, friends become family and we enjoyed many great times with Janet and Robert during our tenure in Abidjan. We will miss you and love you always.

  • Millie Allen Beik

    It was my privilege and honor to get to know Janet Beik when she moved to Freedom. PA. We became friends then. She was a cousin of my late husband, Bill Beik, and we were delighted to meet and spend time with Robert and Janet. We seemed to have so much in common. When she was in the State department, she often wrote letters to my father-in-law, Paul Beik, who loved to hear from her. I remember so fondly a lunch we had together with Donna Wulff, her sister, and my son Carl Kauffman and his partner, Gilbert Zamora, right before the covid outbreak.
    Janet was a truly remarkable person. She managed her cancer and did not complain about it. I admired her so much and wish we could have had more time together. What a positive and wonderful human being. I am so sad about this loss and hope that her family can find much comfort, peace, and love, as they remember her.

  • Linda shields

    In the short time we knew her she became close friend and family member who will be greatly missed.

  • Cathy Webb

    Knowing you was a great joy and blessing. I miss you and love you and you will always be in my heart.

 

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