Janet Hargrave, a Malibu resident of 50 years, died in her Malibu Park home on Jan. 4. She was 84.
Hargrave was born in Portland Ore. on March 27, 1920. Her family moved to Los Angeles when she was still a small child. She graduated from UCLA with a degree in social studies in 1942.
Hargrave’s love of adventure brought her to the Army Air Corps in 1943 where she volunteered to become one of only 1,000 members of WASP (Women Air force Service Pilots of WWII) in the 44-W-5 unit. She earned her wings as a pilot, learning to fly in Independence, Calif. Her service entailed flying transport planes across the country during World War II. After the war she ran a flying school in Nashville, soloing many a student. Hargrave then turned to writing about aviation in columns and articles and scripts for WSM Radio.
Returning to the West Coast, Hargrave worked as a social worker in child services. Known for her humor, Hargrave was recognized by her colleagues for her witty manner. In 1955 she bought land in Malibu and built her own home in what was then a rural community.
Hargrave’s home became the worldwide headquarters for her wooden clock business, a throwback to the turn-of-the-century crafts embraced by her father and mentor, Palmer Hargrave. After her father’s death in 1975, she was determined to continue the high design and craftsmanship of his lighting business. American-made lamps of classic elegance, Palmer Hargrave lamps can be found in many of the finest hotels and homes throughout the world.
After 23 years in the design business, Hargrave retired from business at age 78. But retirement didn’t end the adventure; as a sprightly single she traveled the globe to such places as Russia, Alaska, Peru, the American Southwest and the Panama Canal. When at home she always kept herself busy with her yoga, New Yorker and all her animals.
Hargrave’s wish was to be buried in an old pine box in the shadow of the Eastern Sierra. On Jan. 8, family and friends who admired and loved her set out on another Janet adventure, a 300-mile journey during the recent storms to lay her to rest in the Mount Whitney Cemetery in Lone Pine, Calif.
A potluck memorial service will take place on Jan. 30 at 2 p.m. For more information, call Cathy at 457.1070.