PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Janet Engelhart Gutterman passed away May 13 at the HopeHealth Hulitar Hospice Center after a long and courageous battle with pancreatic cancer.
Janet was born in the Bronx on Aug. 22, 1946, the daughter of Bernice and Milton Hess. She earned an undergraduate degree at Hofstra University and a masters in early childhood development at Duquesne University. She is survived by her husband Rabbi Leslie Y. Gutterman, daughter Allison (Matthew) Spielman, step-daughters Rabbi Rebecca Gutterman (Michael) and Elizabeth Gutterman, sister Risa Hess, brother Charles Hess and grandchildren Daniel, Jonah and Benjamin, along with a wide circle of grieving kin.
Janet was a dedicated community leader. She was the strategic planner for the Pittsburgh Jewish community, where she won national awards for refugee resettlement. Janet moved to Providence to assume the presidency of the Jewish Federation of Rhode Island (now the Jewish Alliance). Upon her retirement, she tutored at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School. Janet was a docent at the Rhode Island School of Design Museum and delighted in introducing youngsters to the museum.
Janet’s love of children and flowers was legendary. She found great satisfaction mentoring countless young women beginning their professional career in the Jewish community. People of all ages were drawn to her and felt connected to her because of her gifts of spirit, kindness and listening without judgment and her utter decency and wholesome values.
Leslie married Janet after his first wife, Julie, died. Janet took immense joy from creating a close-knit, loving family who treasured her.
Janet was sustained these past months by Dr. Howard Safran’s remarkable competence, sensitivity and compassion along with the skill of nurses at The Miriam Hospital Fain Cancer Center.
Dr. Fred Schiffman guided and guarded the Guttermans on a daily basis. God bless him.
The family requests that donations made in memory of Janet be directed to Temple Beth-El in Providence.