Joan (pronounced JoAnn) was born March 22, 1931 in Moorcroft, WY to Bryan and Vivian Smith. She was the youngest with two older brothers – Jack (eight years older) and Bill (five years older) – and spent her growing up years in Moorcroft except for a brief time the family moved to Portland, OR during WWII to work in the war factory.
After graduating from Moorcroft High School in 1949, she started at the University of Wyoming but received a marriage proposal at Christmas and married Leslie Dean Irwin (Peanuts) in June 1950. To this marriage were born two girls, Dee Lynn (May 1951) and Karen Kay (December 1952). They divorced in 1955.
After the divorce, Joan and girls lived mostly in Moorcroft. She sang in the church choir and started a Girl Scout troop and there were camping trips, arrowhead hunting trips and many great memories were made.
In 1963, Joan and the girls moved to Seattle, WA, where brother Bill lived and there were more opportunities for jobs and education.
In Seattle, Joan and the girls were once again a part of the Girl Scout organization and friendships forged in those years remain. Joan hired into the HeadStart Program for Seattle Public Schools and would use her talent for working with children.
After her daughters left home, she quit her job, moved to Bellingham, WA and enrolled at Western Washington State University to complete her lifelong ambition to obtain a degree in education.
She then returned to Seattle and went back to work for Seattle Public Schools for several years. In 2000, she moved to Mt. Vernon, WA to be near daughter Karen and her family.
Throughout her life, playing cards, board games and especially cribbage were a way to connect with people and keep her mind keen. She was an avid reader, loved music, wood carving, painting flowers, gardening, cooking and talking.
Spending quality time with family and staying in touch with lifelong friends was very important to her. Joan’s love of learning and sharing brought her in touch with many people from different walks of life and many different ages. She was a nurturing mentor to many.
She died at age 86 in Mt. Vernon, WA on July 29, 2017 of natural causes. She is survived by her children: Dee (Charles) Pratt of San Diego, CA, and Karen (Ed) Johnson of Sedro Woolley, WA; two grandchildren: Douglas (Heather) Johnson and Katie Johnson; her brother William “Bill” Bryan (Hazel) Smith of Seattle, WA; and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents and brother Robert Jack Smith.
Joan’s ashes will be buried in the Smith Family Plot in Moorcroft Cemetery on Monday, August 20, 2018 at 10:30 a.m. with “A Memorial for Moms” service. This service will also include burial of ashes of Dorothy (Bundy) Smith – wife of Robert Jack Smith.
Dorothy passed away January 18, 2018 in Rawlins, WY. The Smith and Bundy families will gather at the Moorcroft Cemetery followed by a luncheon at the First Presbyterian Church and invites anyone who wishes to connect with the family.