Remembering Macy Janney

We were so very sorry to learn of the death of Macy Janney on Sunday, October 18th. Her list of life accomplishments is so long that the Dayton Book Fair didn’t wasn’t mentioned, but without Macy there would have been no Friends organization formed in 1969 to help support Planned Parenthood and there would have been no Book Fair. She served as President of the Friends group for several years and served on the board and eventually as president of the Miami Valley chapter.

Even after our separation from Planned Parenthood in 2014, Macy and Jervis Janney have continued to support us as regular and generous donor. It was always such a pleasure to see their name come up on “caller i.d.” and know that the witty and delightful Macy would be on the other end.

Macy Janney continues to serve as a lasting testament to how much we can shape our communities and how much can be accomplished through the dedication and efforts of volunteers. We are, and always will be immensely grateful to her.

(Her obituary from the Dayton Daily News is below.)

JANNEY (Putnam), Macy

Heaven has gained a new hostess.

On October 18, 2020, Macy Putnam Janney peacefully crossed the bridge to new horizons, leaving behind the beloved family she built, and a community forever enriched by the lifetime she spent in its service.

Macy was born in Bronxville, New York, on December 15, 1934, to Henry Wilson Putnam and Elizabeth Ackermann Putnam of Hewlett, Long Island. After graduating from Garrison Forest School in Baltimore, she majored in Dance and Drama at Bennett Junior College, where she served as senior class president.

During her time in New York City attending the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, she met Jervis Spencer Janney, Jr., whom she married on May 2, 1957. Inspired through her work in summer stock theater with the likes of Rue McClanahan, Gypsy Rose Lee and Eileen Brennan, Macy set her destiny: She would spend her life as a champion of the arts.

After settling with her husband and three small children in Dayton, Ohio, in 1964, Macy devoted herself to filling the void she saw in arts education for young people. Her work at the Junior League in her newly adopted hometown quickly became the launchpad for decades of dedicated activism alongside the accomplished friends she met there.

A testament to her tireless spirit, Macy was a board member of the Victory Theater Assn., Arts Dayton, The Bach Society, the Human Race Theater Co., and the Miami Valley Hospital Health Foundation, as well as an advisory member of the India Foundation, WDPR Public Radio, and the Allegro Fund of the Dayton Foundation. She was President of the Board of the Dayton Ballet Company as well as its general Manager for several years.

Following in the footsteps of her grandmother, who worked alongside of Margaret Sanger, Macy spent many years advocating and fundraising for family planning education as a board member of Planned Parenthood of Miami Valley and eventually as its President.

A professional volunteer, Macy helped build the Muse Machine from a dream in the basement of friend and founder Suzy Bassani into a powerhouse of arts education for the more than 75000 children now taught by the organization annually. After serving as the Muse Machine’s third Board President, Macy remained highly active in the organization, never missing a chance to elevate the arts as essential learning for all humankind.

Always eager to learn, she opened her home to visiting artists, musicians and choreographers, applying the same practiced dedication to caring for others to those lucky enough to know her personally. Even in the midst of a pandemic and a battle with cancer, Macy’s memory for the most intricate personal details could make the newest acquaintance feel at home with an old friend.

Macy is preceded by her son, Hal Janney, and survived by her husband, Jervis Jr.; her son, Jervis lll, her brother, Michael and his wife, Melody Lawrence, of New York City, her daughter, Allison Janney, of Los Angeles; her grandchildren, Niall and Petra, of Los Angeles; and the thousands more whose lives she uplifted with her mission to amplify arts experience and education.

The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donation may be made to the Miami Valley School, The Muse Machine or the Arts Alliance, all of Dayton. A memorial Service will be announced at a later date.

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