Thermopolis Independent Record - Your source for news in Hot Springs County

Janet Ahlquist


April 30, 2020

Janet Ahlquist

Janet Ahlquist, loving mother and accomplished pianist, passed away on Tuesday, April 21, 2020. Janet was born in Worland, Wyo., to John and Thelma Ahlquist. She grew up in Thermopolis, Wyo., and made her debut with the Casper Symphony at the age of 14. She attended college at Oberlin where she met and married her now former husband, David Roberts in 1961 and had 3 children, Kirk, Tracy, and Jon. Janet studied at The Julliard School of Music where she received 5 performance scholarships. She was awarded an Artist Diploma from the Longy School in Cambridge, Mass. She received her Doctor of Musical Arts at Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y. 

Janet performed numerous solo and chamber music recitals in such venues as Lincoln Center, Carnegie Recital Hall, The Coolidge Auditorium at The Library of Congress, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the Rockefeller Mansion, the French Embassy, and in Europe and Russia. As a top prize winner at the French Piano Institute's Festival International in Paris she performed the music of French composers at the French Embassy in Washington DC. Janet was faculty at Casper College from 1992-2002, Artistic Director of The Casper Chamber Music Society, and honored with the Wyoming Governor's Art Award for her inspiration to music students. She later served on the adjunct faculty at Immaculata University in Malvern, PA.  

She took great interest in different cultures and ways of thinking and inspired her students with great passion and skill. Janet balanced her career with being a dedicated mother and "Janny-Pants" to her deeply cherished grandchildren, and she always put family first. She adored her piano students and enjoyed giving them the opportunity (especially children) to celebrate their skills with gatherings in her home. Janet loved celebrations, entertaining, and especially Easter. She will be dearly missed.

Janet is survived by her children, Kirk Roberts, Tracy Sandmann, and Jon Roberts; grandchildren, Jeremy, Luke, Jack and Will; and ex-husband, David.

She is preceded in death by her parents, John and Thelma Ahlquist; half-sister, Bobby-Lou Joy; and granddaughter, Laura Roberts. In addition, she is survived by and preceded in death by a long list of beloved extended family and dear friends.

A gathering to celebrate Janet's life will be held at a date to be determined.

As beautifully said from a member of our family, "Janet's life was devoted to family and music. Music alone is an extraordinary gift to give others. Music is universal. Music is loved in all its many forms by all people around the world - in every country, by every race, by every culture, at any age from infants to seniors. Music soothes troubled souls. Music stirs old memories even among people suffering from dementia. Her life has been such a gift."

Memorial contributions can be made to the Upper Valley Music Center by visiting

To leave a message of condolence please visit the online guestbook at


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