Vail Daily obituary: Janis Lee Ronnestad, 1938-2012 |

Vail Daily obituary: Janis Lee Ronnestad, 1938-2012

Special to the Daily
Vail, CO Colorado

Janis Lee Ronnestad passed away from a sudden heart attack March 27. She was brought to Presbyterian St. Luke’s Hospital, where she later died. She was 73 years old. She lived in the Singletree community in Edwards.

Janis Lee Mittelstadt Ronnestad was born on Aug. 2, 1938, in Eau Claire, Wis. She was the oldest of five siblings. Her parents were Arlene Mittelstadt and Fredrick William Mittelstadt. Her father was in the Navy and the family moved many times during her childhood years. The family thrived on sports and they were driven by excellence and a competitive nature.

In 1959, Janis married a Norwegian Olympian, Oddvar Mathias Ronnestad. They had their first child, Britt, in 1960. Soon after they moved to Norway, their second child, Lene, arrived. During her years in Norway, Janis made great friends, dear to her to the day she died. She helped her husband develop a ski area in Kongsberg, Norway, where she also taught skiing. Janis was married to Oddvar for 11 years and then moved back to the United States. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in social work and spent many years as a drug and alcohol counselor in Sweden and several cities in the United States. She also spent several years as a ski instructor in Vail.

Janis was very adventurous and liked hang gliding, skiing, horseback riding and motorcycles. She was an avid sports fan and loved Monday Night Football. She had four grandchildren who were also very successful in sports. She followed them with pride and enthusiasm in their pursuit of success: Terrence and Paxton in basketball and Ingrid and Maria in cheer dance. A year ago, she became a great-grandmother to Eddie. She was also very proud of her two daughters, Britt, a schoolteacher, and Lene, a nurse anesthetist. Janis felt that Vail was her home and will be missed by her “family” in Vail. She was a formidable presence in our community and helped many people through her wisdom and guidance. We have all been blessed to have her in our lives as long as we did.

Janis is survived by her daughters, Britt and Lene; grandchildren Ingrid Engen, Terrence Oglesby, Paxton Oglesby and Maria Sjotun; and great-grandchild Eddie Mathias Engen Hammarberg. She is also survived by siblings Sandy, Nancy and Lynn.

A celebration of Janis’s life will be held on Wednesday at 5:15 p.m. at the Vail Interfaith Chapel, Annex Building downstairs. Everyone is welcome to attend to share their memories of Janis. There will be a dinner afterward so please bring a dish to share. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to SOS, Box 2020, Avon, CO 81620. SOS is an organization to build character in youth through outdoor activities such as skiing and snowboarding.

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