A Speech About Janet Klug From 2008

In 2008, I wrote this speech to honor my dear friend and fellow collector Janet Klug, who passed away on June 16th, 2023.  I’ve been reminiscing about our long friendship and I’d like to share it with you…

“I’m honored to have the opportunity to talk about Janet tonight. Janet is one of my favorite people.

Janet’s long list of accomplishments is well known.  For years she has written about stamps and the hobby in Linn’s and elsewhere.  She has been a philatelic judge, the president of the American Philatelic Society, vice-chairman of the National Postal Museum Council of Philatelists, author, fellow of the Royal Philatelic Society, and much more.

Janet is an ambassador for stamps and stamp collecting. A lifelong collector, she has used her intelligence, energy, time, and good nature to advance the hobby of stamp collecting.  Many collectors are introverts, quiet and shy people.  Not Janet.  Janet is an extrovert.  Outgoing, friendly, the person who starts conversations in a group of strangers.   We really need Janet in this hobby.

I like Janet’s smile and positive nature.  I first met Janet here at the postal museum at the first Gala Dinner.  Janet and her husband Russ were viewing the 1847 exhibit.  I recognized her wonderful smile from the American Philatelist magazine.  I felt like I knew Janet.  I went to say hello, as if to an old friend, then realized I didn’t know her at all and was embarrassed.  Janet recognized me, too, probably from the zillions of times my face has been in Linn’s, introduced herself, and her calm nature put me at ease.  That was the start of our friendship.

Later, I got to know Janet from council meetings and then from our efforts on the Future of Philately.  After joining the council here at the museum, Janet was named vice-chairman.  She has exhibited real dedication to the museum.  After a few council meetings, Janet and Wade developed a new, improved structure for the council.  Previously, meetings were passive affairs where we listened to presentations but had little involvement in the museum and its plans.  Then Allen Kane came to the museum with his pluses and deltas and everything changed.  Allen listened to our frustration and charged Janet and Wade to change things.  Their new setup broke the council into sub-groups and allowed council members to work with the museum staff, giving value to the museum, the council members, and the hobby.  This was a big, important change that gets value from our time and energy.

As part of The Future of Philately, Janet put together a proposal to ask for federal dollars to fund stamps in the classroom.  Allen got an invitation to the White House to make the pitch.  I tagged along for moral support.  We met with some Texans who were on their guard, worried we wanted money.  They were right, we did want their money.  Janet quickly put them at ease; they warmed up and told us they did not have money to give.  They did direct us to a contact at the Department of Education, where we made the pitch again.

In 2007, Janet and I authored a book called the 100 Greatest American Stamps.  About a year ago, Whitman Publishing approved the concept and asked me to choose a co-author.  I wanted Janet because she knows and loves stamps, is a great writer, and is a complete pleasure to work with.  Whitman agreed, and Janet, the talented people at Mystic and I jointly created the 100 Greatest American Stamps.

Janet will always be “The Greatest” in my book!

I’m very fond of Janet.  I just feel good in her presence and I’m not alone.   Several years ago, just after Janet joined the council, Sonny Hagendorf and I were critiquing the meeting, and Sonny said Janet is the perfect council member.  She is always positive with a warm smile, completely competent, eager to do anything to help the hobby, and a delight to be with.  Everyone I know describes Janet in much the same way.

Janet, you are a remarkable person. You combine great personal skills with intelligence, energy, drive, and a love for the hobby.  I’m honored to know you.  Congratulations.”

Don Sundman

Postscript July 2023:  When I gave this speech in 2008, it was accompanied by a whimsical nod to Janet’s love of the stamps and postal history of Tonga.  

Share this Article