Murray and Janet Husney

Murray and Janet Husney
Janet and Murray Husney married Sept. 12, 1959

Family and the Jewish faith are important to Murray and Janet Husney of San Jose. This is evident from colorful framed art and needlework depicting Jewish blessings and the Hand of God, which line the dining room walls of their San Jose home. Elaborately framed heirloom portraits of the couple’s beautifully coiffed and gowned parents smile from a bygone era.

Murray and Janet Husney

Murray and Janet Husney

The Husneys moved in to their new brick home on San Clerc Road in 1966, among the first families to live in the new neighborhood which is close to the Jewish Community Alliance, where they are charter members.

Engaging and outgoing, Janet, 76, seems as if she could host any talk show. As she joins Murray, 11 years her senior, in discussing their interesting history together, the couple cheerfully jog each other’s memory.

They recall their mortgage payment was $183 per month, and that they made renovations to ease family life.

“I had the wall separating the kitchen and living room removed so I could watch the children play while I cooked,” Janet said. “Everybody said, ‘Oh, don’t do that, you’ll never be able to sell it!’ Now that’s the popular style. I was way ahead of my time!”

At that time, the neighborhood was full of young couples just starting out, Janet recalled.

“We each had two daughters and a son the same ages who played together,” Janet said of nearby neighbors, Sandy and Lewis Joseph. “The kids were always in Goodby’s creek even though it was swampy and boggy. The creek often ‘ate’ the kids’ shoes. They could float a canoe all the way down to Baymeadows Boulevard. The children built a fort in the woods behind our house and played Ghost in the Graveyard.”

More than 20 children lived on the block, riding bikes and playing football. The circular cul-de-sac connecting Glade Lane and Gemini Drive was their baseball diamond. Sewer drains were first, second and third bases. Home plate was the manhole cover, so sliding into home base was painful.

Neighborhood block parties and pitch-in dinners included everyone. “We were neighbors of all faiths who helped each other,” Janet said. “We were Jewish, so I babysat for my Catholic neighbors when they attended Christmas Eve services, and they babysat for us when we attended services.”

Murray and Janet Husney

Murray Husney in uniform, 1952

The Husneys’ eldest daughter, Miriam, played clarinet in Wolfson High School Band, Janet said. In 1975 Wolfson’s band was invited to play for President Gerald Ford and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, when they came to Jacksonville for diplomatic talks. Wolfson was chosen because its uniforms were red, white and blue, Janet recalled. Band members played “Hail to The Chief” and the Egyptian national anthem. They performed at the duPont Estate, which is now Epping Forest, where both presidents were guests of Raymond K. Mason.

Murray Husney moved to Jacksonville in 1947, partnering with his uncle, Jack Husney, who owned a downtown West Adams Street shop, Husney’s Children’s Wear & Linens, across from the Barnett Bank Building. They opened a second store in Arlington Plaza, Sarmel Children’s Wear. Unfortunately, construction of the Arlington Expressway blocked access to the store and the shop failed.

Beginning in 1950, Murray served two years active duty with the U.S. Army National Guard in the Korean War and two years reserve until his 1954 discharge. He met his wife, the blond, vivacious Janet Ozner, while visiting mutual friends in Brooklyn, New York. They married September 12, 1959 and lived in Arlington before San Jose.

After Murray left his retail business he sold Encyclopedia Britannica and worked for Parts Unlimited as an area manager. He then worked 10 years at Florida Paper where he was awarded a Rhine River Cruise and a Cancun vacation as a top company salesman. He retired from his sales position in 1990.

Meanwhile, Janet completed two years at Brooklyn College before she was married. As she brought up her children she also worked as a Fuller Brush Lady and taught pre-school at Etz Chaim Synagogue for 25 years.

“Murray joined Etz Chaim 60 years ago and served as president. I’m a 57-year member,” she said. “People know us because Murray called the synagogue Bingo games for 40 years.”

Janet also worked many years as a part-time home telemarketing researcher, a job she held simultaneously with her other work with Fuller Brush and the synagogue.

Both Husneys have been Museum of Science & History volunteers, and Janet is a 10-year River Garden Hebrew Home volunteer. She survived breast cancer in 2008 as well as a rare skin cancer in 2011. She lovingly cares for Murray, who underwent treatment for prostate cancer in 2015.

The couple said they hope to remain in their home as long as possible. They emphatically agree it would take “an act of Congress”to get them to move. It’s a good thing they can no longer climb into their attic, because after 50 years there’s so much stuff up there they’d never get back out, Janet said.

“I love my family,” Janet said frequently. As matriarch, Janet is the keeper of birthdays. Her thick, well-worn address and date book is always close at hand. It has every birthday, anniversary and other important dates meticulously recorded for each family member.

The Husneys have three children, Miriam, Adam and Jill, eight grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

“We’ve been so blessed,” Janet said, while smiling at her husband. “We’ve been married 57 good years, we are able to see all our family, and we are doing the things we enjoy. There is really nothing left to be done,” she said.

By Julie Kerns Garmendia
Resident Community News

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