Janet Louise Langlois passed away peacefully at her home in Detroit May 22, 2021, with family members nearby. She is survived by her husband, Andrea di Tommaso, daughter Mia di Tommaso, stepchildren Dante, Matteo, and Ivana di Tommaso, grandchildren, a sister, and brothers.
Janet was a leading scholar, a legendary teacher, and a dear friend and mentor to many of us. During her long illness she courageously studied legends about deathbed visitations at hospices. In the spring of 2021 she received the Linda Dégh Award for Lifetime Achievement in Legend Studies. Her last book, Other Worlds, which analyzes hospice experiences, will be published later by the University Press of Mississippi.
Janet’s work includes the book Belle Gunness: The Lady Bluebeard and many articles:
- “The Belle Isle Bridge Incident: Legend Dialectic and Semiotic System in the 1943 Detroit Race Riots”
- “Belle Gunness, The Lady Bluebeard: Narrative Use of a Deviant Woman”
- “‘Mary Whales, I Believe in You’: Myth and Ritual Subdued”
- “‘Hold the Mayo’: Purity and Danger in an AIDS Legend”
- “Mothers’ Double Talk”
- “‘Celebrating Arabs’: Tracing Legend and Rumor Labyrinths in Post-9/11 Detroit”
Janet Langlois is the 2021 Recipient of the Linda Dégh Lifetime Achievement Award for Legend Scholarship, and a month ago, to her delight, she already received both the framed certificate and the trophy.
We will remember her kindness, her generosity, her intelligence, and contemplate her loss.
The Executive Council of ISCLR