Remembering Jan Musson
Janet Morris Musson - Obituary (1-2-2016, San Jose Mercury)
Former Monte Sereno Resident
MUSSON, JANET MORRIS, 79, died suddenly on December 21, 2015 at her home in Goshen, KY. A 4th generation Californian, she was born in Long Beach and grew up in San Francisco, San Jose, and Orinda. She graduated from Stanford University in 1957 with a degree in Speech and Drama. After graduation she began, unwittingly, to prepare for a career in entrepreneurship; working in personnel management and small business oriented public accounting. Her employment with a San Jose CPA firm led to her appointment as Treasurer of the San Jose Civic Light Opera Assn. in 1966. This rekindled her interest in stage lighting. Over the next 30 years she designed lighting for over 60 major productions in the Santa Clara Valley. Her credits included designs for San Jose State Univ., Opera San Jose, San Jose Light Opera, Lyric Theatre (GSSSJ), San Jose Dance Theatre, and various groups at Saratoga Theatre.
Jan received a MA degree in Drama from SJSU in 1974 under the tutelage of the late Dr. Ken Dorst. During her studies she saw a need for a theatrical equipment supplier in the South Bay Area and created Musson Theatrical Inc. in her home in the Monte Sereno area. The business grew rapidly and expanded from the home to University Ave. in Los Gatos, and on to Stockton Ave. in San Jose. A disastrous fire in 1984 led to relocation to Musson Theatrical's current location in Santa Clara. The company has since become one of the largest theatrical supply houses in the nation. In the mid 1990's the business was sold to the current owner Robert Downs.
In 1989 Jan moved with her retired husband to Kentucky where for several years she managed a branch of Musson Theatrical in Louisville. She also served as resident stage lighting designer for the acclaimed Walden Theatre in that city.
She was a long-time member of the United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT). She served as Treasurer of that organization from 1984-88 later was elected Fellow of the Institute. She was also honored to be elected an honorary member of San Jose Local 134 of the stage employee's union (IATSE).
Jan is survived by her husband Warwick Musson, Goshen, KY; her brother Frederick Morris (Lucy), Napa, CA; niece, Juliana Hube; nephews Gregory Morris and Keith Morris; and seven grandnieces.
Funeral services were held in Louisville, KY on December 26, 2015.
A memorial service will be held at 1 PM on Thursday, January 7 at Darling Fischer Chapel of the Hills, 615 N. Santa Cruz Ave., Los Gatos with burial to follow at Los Gatos Memorial Park. Visitation from 12-1 PM Thursday.