Janet Barnes was the longest living quadriplegic (incomplete) recorded in the Guinness World Records. Born on October 9, 1928, she was also the oldest living quadriplegic at the time of her death, September 13, 2013. (83 years, 5 months and 12 days) She was a living miracle. Her story will challenge, encourage and inspire, as well prove to you that miracles really do happen.
Janet Barnes did everyday what most of us would call impossible. She excelled in school, went to a vocational school to learn photo retouching and was an early pioneer of “working from home”. She married her beloved Harold, someone who accepted her as she was and whom she also accepted as he was (a paraplegic). They both had a real zest for living, and did more than what many able-bodied people did not or could not do. They had four children. They managed a household. They worked together – and invented or adapted equipment so that they could function independently. They were entrepreneurs, they were industrious – working many jobs – they bought and renovated houses to accommodate their physical challenges and they provided amply for their family.
After more than 35 years of marriage Harold died. But, Janet remained strong and continued to learn. She became proficient in computer programming – and continued to work from home. Later, she volunteered as a foster grandmother and teacher’s assistant. Her quick wit and loving demeanor helped children to open themselves to their potential. She was affectionately known as “Grandma Janet” by thousands of children, parents and people in the community.
Janet Barnes appreciated the beauty all around her – she captured it in her art work – through painting, crocheting and writing. Her legacy continues to challenge and encourage and inspire us to be all that we can be – to prove that miracles really do happen!
Mother wrote “Some Things About Me” around 1997 or 1998 when she was taking a writing course in Columbia, MO. Read more here.