Obituary: Janet Sylvia MacDonald
January 24, 2012
On January 7, 2012, Janet Sylvia MacDonald died peacefully surrounded by her family after battling Parkinson’s disease.
Born Janet Sylvia MacDonald May 6, 1941 in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, Jan moved to Nevada in 1959. As a single mother with a young son, she attended the University of Nevada, Reno during the day and worked evenings to support her family. It was during this time that Jan danced and performed with famous Bertha the Elephant in the main showroom at John Asquaga’s Nugget.
Jan graduated from the UNR with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1967, and she trained with Carlos Brown CPA as an accountant and was thus certified on February 17, 1968. In 1975, Jan followed her passions and entered law school in California, but returned to Nevada at the request on Governor O’Callihan to serve as a Nevada Public Service Commissioner, a post she held until 1981. She is remembered as a forward thinking young professional at the PSC where she was instrumental in implementing “time of use” rates that provided businesses with greater flexibility to reduce energy costs. She would often jog during her lunch hour, and her weekends were often spent backpacking with her friends and colleagues. Having practiced in areas of both public and governmental accounting, Jan specialized in internal audit, developing and administrating the first internal audit department at the University of Nevada for the Board of Regents.
When Jan attended UNR, there were no other women in the accounting program. Similarly, she saw only men in the room where she took the CPA exam. After graduation, she applied to the then ‘Big 8’ accounting firms for employment, and they would not even grant her an interview. Her Nevada CPA Certificate said ‘…having been examined to his knowledge…’ Jan never thought of herself as a trail-blazer, she was a doer. Yet, she was pleased that many women have since chosen to enter the accounting profession and are slowly becoming the majority in the profession.
Jan was always at the forefront of the accounting profession and recognized how the accounting world changed over forty years. She had mixed feelings about it. Above all else, Jan had integrity. She would never let the numbers lie. Yet, she saw CPA firms trading off of their accounting practices while selling other services such as investments or insurance and believed it was conflict of interest. She believed receiving commissions could cloud professional judgment. She also believed that in the fast paced financial world of today, audits lose their usefulness when finalized six months after the year end. She questioned whether or not ‘accounting principles’ were departing from common sense. She often said: “They don’t know what revenue is anymore.”
While Jan planned for her retirement, her interest in the profession to which she was dedicated for so many years never waivered. “I am sure she will be a credit to our profession” were words submitted in a letter of reference on her behalf in 1965. The truth of those words is evidenced by a long and productive career as a CPA.
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Armed with a pearl ring, Jan’s love Ron asked her to marry him after a horseback riding through Yosemite Valley. Later, they traveled to Jefferson, Iowa, Ron’s hometown, where, surrounded by friends and family from around the country, they were married on Saturday, June 21, 1986. Although they were married as Mr. and Mrs. Kendall, Ron was determined that Jan keep her professional name (everyone knew her that way!).
Jan and Ron were inseparable. They did absolutely everything together: hiking, snow skiing, scuba diving, and biking. When they bought Candlewood Mobile home park in Las Vegas, they worked together to enhance that investment. Coupled with Ron’s computer know-how and Jan’s business savvy, the couple developed an accounting software for their business clients. They worked together to develop Pharmatrix, a unique accounting system for medical doctors. Similarly, Jan and Ron teamed up to make sure that Nevada’s simulators for novice drivers and DUI convicts worked correctly.
Jan travelled the world with Ron, and even made two trips to South Africa with Dr. John Diamond and family. When Ron was hospitalized with a serious health condition, no one was surprised that Jan was beside him every minute of every day.
Jan was honest and true to her convictions. Jan had integrity, with the ability to do the right thing every time, even when no one was looking .She loved her family and friends, good conversation, and brought common sense to countless matters. Jan was fun and she laughed ~ a lot. Jan MacDonald’s smile was brilliant, it flashed in response to a witty joke, it could light up a room with kindness and we will miss that smile dearly.
Jan is survived by husband, Ron Kendall; son, Frank MacDonald; grandchildren Ariana and Gavin MacDonald; brothers Steve (Sharon) MacDonald, Mike (Lynda) MacDonald, John MacDonald, and stepchildren Scott (Michele) Kendall, grandchildren Ryan, Brady and Amanda Kendall, Tammy (Rich) Hollenberg, granddaughter Arden Odle (Mark Trebus) and great granddaughter Eleanor Rose Trebus. Brothers Steve (Sharon) MacDonald and sons Nathan and Todd MacDonald, Mike (Lynda) MacDonald and sons David and Dan MacDonald, John MacDonald and daughter Joustina and Howard MacDonald.
Janet Sylvia MacDonald’s memorial is set for January 29, 2012 at 1:00 P.M. It will be at John Ascuaga’s Nugget in Reno, Nevada at the Pool Side Terrace on the 5th floor.