Janet Vogt’s family and friends took part in a surprise birthday parade on Sunday, Dec. 20.

By Marianne Mueller


Sirens rang out and lights began to flash in Roscoe on Sunday, Dec. 20 followed by a row of cars full of friendly, familiar faces; each who took part in a special parade to celebrate Janet Vogt’s 85th birthday.

The parade was organized by Vogt’s children- daughter Mary Lewis along with her husband Rich; son Don Vogt; daughter-n-law Cindie and son John Vogt who all were the first to arrive at the Vogt’s home to honor someone on their special day that is highly thought of every day.

Invitations were sent out on a Facebook page for the event. This parade turned out to be a complete surprise.

“My husband lured me down to the end of the driveway. He told me that the sign on my son’s car that is for sale in our yard needed more tape on it,” Vogt said. “As we were standing in the driveway one of the kids said, “Look down there; they are coming.”

Her husband Paul promptly held up a sign out that read, “Honk, Janet Vogt is 85.” An additional sign sat in the front yard along with balloons attached to the mailbox alerting everyone that this was where the celebration was officially being held.

Family and friends met up at Ledgewood School where the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department, Harlem-Roscoe Fire and Roscoe Police Department led a row of around 30 plus cars to Love Road and past the Vogt’s home.

Some decorated their cars by writing personalized “Happy Birthday” messages on the windows.  Horns honked and with windows rolled down smiles were abundant, as well as lively hand waves, blowing kisses into the air, and warm birthday greetings spoken from different vehicles.  These actions were matched with parade participants handing Janet flowers, and cards. “One of Mary’s neighbors made me a very nice quilt, “Vogt said.

Birthdays that are close to the holidays are very common in the Vogt family. Janet’s fathers birthday was on Dec. 7, her brother’s birthday; Dec. 18, Janet’s son Don’s birthday is Dec. 18, granddaughter Taylor Lewis has a birthday on Dec. 21, and her grandmother’s birthday was on Dec. 29. Her daughter Mary was born on New Year’s Day in 1959. “Mary was the second baby born that year on this date,” Vogt shares.

Janet Vogt was born on Dec. 20, 1935. She grew up in Sharon and in past years had lived in Roscoe. After she and Paul got married the Vogts moved back to Roscoe and have lived in the same house on Love Road since 1954.

“Love Road is named after my great grandparents; my great grandmother was a Love,” Janet shares. She adds, “My grandmother was married to John Porter. The Porter family has long ties to the Roscoe community. “My Grandfather Porter lived off of Elevator Road.”

Janet’s mother was a graduate of the Class of 1930 at Hononegah High School.

In past years, Janet worked at Vesley-Wells and later worked as a mail carrier; delivering mail for the Roscoe Post Office where she did a rural route. Reflecting back on her time Janet used to carry caramel tootsie rolls in her Jeep to give to little kids on her route.

“When I retired, a box of Tootsie Rolls was left for me from the Tootsie Roll company,” Janet said. “I received a call that Tootsie Rolls had made it into the “Candy Hall of Fame.”

Jaqueline Kennedy Onassis and Frank Sinatra both also were inductees into the Hall of Fame; both were super fans of this candy. Jackie O’ was said to have eaten miniature Tootsie Rolls while at work. It was said that Frank Sinatra ate Tootsie Rolls when he was traveling; He always had to have them.”

In addition to the parade in Roscoe, relatives in Germany also organized a parade of a smaller scale in honor of Janet Vogt’s 85th Birthday celebration.

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