Janet Christeen Stewart Nail died May 3, 2021, at her home in Marion, Ala., with her family by her side. She was 76 years old.
A memorial service for Janet will be on May 15, 2021, at St. Wilfrid’s Episcopal Church, in Marion, Ala., beginning at 2 p.m. The service will be outdoors (weather permitting) with a picnic following. Casual attire is encouraged.
Janet was born Nov. 1, 1944, to James Thomas Stewart and Laura Elizabeth Bond in Ft. Bliss, El Paso, Texas. A self-described “Army brat,” she attended schools in several states before graduating high school in Picayune, Miss., in 1962. She was awarded a scholarship to Mississippi State University, where she earned a BS degree in English. Mississippi State was also where she met James H. Nail. The couple married January 23, 1966. They had two sons, John Ashley Nail and Jefferson Kegan Nail, and later adopted a daughter, Judith Alma Shadi Nail.
Janet continued to live an itinerant life during the early years of her marriage while her husband was enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, living in San Antonio, Texas, Tacoma, Wash., and Sacramento, Calif. The family soon settled — for a time — in San Jose, Calif., where Janet studied at San Jose State University, earning a master’s degree in English. It wasn’t long after she got that degree that the Nails moved again, this time to Denair, Calif., where Janet worked briefly as a substitute teacher. However, as anyone who knew her could attest, Janet, a voracious reader, was born to be a librarian. So, it was no surprise that after the Nails moved to Clovis, Calif., she went to work at the Fresno County Public Library’s Doris Gates Room. She later worked for the Hattiesburg Public Library in Hattiesburg, Miss., and the B.S. Ricks Memorial Library in Yazoo City, MS. Even after retiring from Ricks Memorial in 2009 and moving to Marion, Ala., she couldn’t resist the company of books and took a part-time job at the Marion-Perry County Library.
Janet was just as devoted to the Episcopal church, having first been introduced to the church by her sister-in-law while still in college. She was confirmed during her senior year at Mississippi State. She taught children’s Sunday school for many years, was the director of the A.V. Center for the Diocese of Mississippi and wrote a regular column for the Mississippi Episcopalian. In 2018 she became a member of the Third Order of St. Francis and enjoyed many years of service in God’s Joyful Fools fellowship.
In addition to reading, Janet enjoyed writing, baking and spending time with her grandchildren and her cats.
She is survived by her husband, James H. Nail; two sons and their spouses, John (Tomé) Nail of Decatur, Ga,, and Jefferson (Beatriz) Nail of Marion, Ala; one brother and his spouse, Joseph Edward (Donna) Stewart of Canton, Ga.; four grandchildren, Sebastian James Nail and Sofia Isabella Nail of Marion, Ala., Benjamin Parish Barker and Abigail Jewel Barker of Starkville, Miss.; and many uncles, aunts, cousins, nieces and nephews. She is preceded in death by her parents, James Thomas Stewart and Elizabeth Polk; her daughter, Judith Alma Shadi Nail; two brothers, James Thomas Stewart III and Timothy David Stewart; and her stepparents, Mary Stewart and Woodrow Polk.
Memorials may be made in Janet’s honor to Child Fund International (ChildFund.org), the Yazoo Library Association, the Friends of the Marion-Perry County Library Association, or the charity of your choice.