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Joan M. Kasson

Joan Margaret Kasson (Stratton), age 82, of Westerville, Ohio died peacefully on January 31 in hospice care at Kobacker House, Columbus after a short struggle with lung cancer. She was surrounded by family and friends.

Joan was born May 21, 1936 in Pittsburgh and grew up in Cleveland, first daughter to Grace Stratton. She was preceded in death by her mother and her sister Vivian, as well as her ex-husband Dave Kasson. She was also preceded in death by the love of her life, Jill D. Steuer, who also died at Kobacker House, in 2009. They celebrated their Commitment Ceremony, or Brit Ahavah, in 1997, officiated by Rabbi Howard Apothaker. Joan converted to Judaism, and was a member of Temple Beth Shalom.

Survivors include her 3 sons (and 3 daughters in love): Jeff & Colleen Kasson, Punta Gorda, FL; Gary & Bobbilyn Kasson, Westerville, OH; and Bryce Kasson & Olivia Platzer, Cologne, Germany. Beloved grandchildren are Dylan (& Michiella), Bryn and Meghann.

Joan was lifelong learner who loved to read, and curious about the world around her. In nursing school she had a map of the world on her dorm room wall—and in 1957, at the age of 21, she took her savings from 1 year of working and traveled with an AYH group, bicycling for 2 1/2 months throughout Europe.

Joan was a Labor & Delivery nurse at Ohio State University hospital for decades, and retired from there in 1989. Soon after, she enrolled as a student at OSU, receiving a B.A. in Women’s Studies in 1995, graduating Summa Cum Laude.

An art lover, she was a volunteer docent at the Columbus Museum of Art for many years. A committed vegetarian, she was a donor to the Nature Conservancy and Audubon Society, among other environmental groups. She was also a volunteer at the Westerville library.

Joan stayed fit in retirement by regular water-walking, and made many friends in the pool over the years. She was a feminist, an astute bridge player, and was late in life fascinated by geology. From that first bicycle trip through Europe, she never lost her passion for seeing new places. She and Jill, along with a group of close friends, embarked on numerous cruises through the Carribbean, Alaska and Norway. With the docents, she enjoyed art-centered trips to France and Italy. Recently, she made several trips to national parks, including the Grand Canyon in 2018, where she rafted down the Colorado River. She had a special fondness for the Pacific Northwest, and returned often to visit favorite places there.

Joan will be remembered for her inspiring intellectual curiosity, as well as for her kindness and generosity, providing support and connection to Buddhists engaged in long meditation retreats, helping others with terminal illnesses like AIDS and cancer. Perhaps she will most be missed for her laughter.

The family wishes to express their deepest gratitude to the caring staff at Kobacker House. In lieu of flowers, please support the Greater Columbus Arts Council, 100 E. Broad St., Suite 2250 Columbus, Oh 43215.

There will be a celebration of her life on Saturday, February 16, from 1 – 4 at The Clubhouse at the Villas at Highland Lakes, 6300 Pinehurst Pointe, Westerville, OH 43082.

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  • Fran Durkee says:

    I feel fortunate to have known Joan for several years. We talked about so many things. She said I made her laugh and she did that for me. What a spirit! I’ll always remember our trip to the Art Museum with my husband in October and her particular appreciation of the work.

  • Pat Morris says:

    Joan and I met when she became my little sister in nursing school. We became good friends over the years, even tho our careers and personal lives took different paths we kept in touch. Despite many life challenges, Joan always remained optimistic and cheerful. She was able to see the humor in every situation. Joan had the gift of helping people see the bright side of life. Just knowing that Joan would be there when I needed a laugh helped me with my problems. I will miss Joan and our times together.

  • Richard Slubowski says:

    Joan was a wonderful person who I treasured dearly. She was intelligent and strong-willed, but kind, tolerant and caring, concerned for the well being of others..

    She was a loyal friend who I trusted greatly and appreciated for her wisdom, insight and humor. We could have serious and deep conversations, but could also joke and tease each other. And then she could make me laugh until I almost cried, never ashamed to poke fun of herself.

    She will be deeply missed, but I am grateful for all the treasured moments and memories that she has provided.

    My condolences and gratitude to her family, who were able to provide company and care in the difficult last phase of her life.

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