This past weekend, my wife and I lost a good neighbor, Mrs. Joan Ward. A wonderful spirit into her 80s, Joan lived a long and productive life. Passing on the day of Corpus Christi, the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, the Lord we trust in faith welcomed her to Heaven to reunite with her husband, son and the other faithfully departed. I want to provide a few thoughts about Joan as a neighbor and person. Perpetuating her memory is instructive.

Joan and her late husband raised three daughters as well as a son they adopted from Ireland. The three daughters all carry the same warmth of personality and regard for others like Joan. Joan worked in the medical field for 27 years, ultimately as a cardiopulmonary ultrasound technician at the hospital near her home. She helped thousands of people to better their health.

Joan enjoyed traveling and making trips to many places around the world. She also enjoyed day trips in the Chicagoland area and wider region organized for seniors by her neighborhood bank. Joan enjoyed visiting our home for dinner. She liked sitting around the fire in colder months. In addition to having a sharp wit, she was a good conversationalist. Joan had a knack for getting quieter folks to talk and open up.

Joan's wonderful sense of humor often prompted laughter. She also was aware that her humor sometimes got the best of her. She'd say, "My family says my words get me in trouble." She'd make a comment to "get a rise" out of someone, drawing them into conversation. That was the most of it.

Joan enjoyed talking with younger family members and friends. Often, I'd hear her grandsons and other neighbors visiting her. The yard resounded with laughter and good times. Joan welcomed my wife and me into her home on various occasions. She enjoyed music and dance, and Joan shared some of her favorite songs with us. Joan kept a beautiful garden with clematis and other flowers, shrubs and trees.

As an elder, Joan also shared wisdom born of faith and an abiding simplicity. Enjoying life, she also knew life on earth isn't forever. With several ailments, she faced each patiently, staving off many of them. After a scare last year, she commented that "God and the devil had a fight last night, and it seems God won." Joan always deflected suffering to humor. She had a realistic perspective, telling me that when it was her time, she was ready to pass on. Joan knew her life had been a full and good one. It was a life lived in love of and faith in God and others through the Roman Catholic Church.

Joan also was a friend of Korea. Some years ago, she became acquainted with and then friends with a Korean colleague. She showed interest in my work and writings about Korea, which I happily shared. Joan exhibited curiosity and interest in lifelong learning. I'm aware that she read a lot, even in the last months of her life. This is a key to staying young.

When my family members visited, Joan welcomed them, showing the same kindness, humor, and interest that characterized all her days. She visited with many of the younger people on our street, dispensing laughs and love to all comers.

Joan taught my family the way to maintain happiness in later life, which we approach day by day. Continuing to invest in life requires openness to change. Travel, be it near or far, stimulates interest and leads to new acquaintances and friends. This enriches life and provides a basis for wider understanding. Keeping good humor is a counterbalance to the stressors of older age that affect many of us. Taking an interest in the younger generations, those who soon will lead where once elders did, is also important.

I think the young and the not-yet-old should continue to invest in loving elders. We need to learn their stories and memorialize them. We need to provide avenues for them to escape the loneliness that crowds too many in our nuclear arrangements. There should be private and public provision for the necessities of life, in particular for good health care. Many "halmoni" and "hallabeogi" (Korean for grandmother and grandfather) have the same and varied other charisms as our neighbor Joan Ward. May she rest in peace, and may those who loved and knew her carry her memory forward in their lives.

Bernard Rowan (browan10@yahoo.com) is associate provost for contract administration and academic services and full professor of political science at Chicago State University. He is a past fellow of the Korea Foundation and past visiting professor at Hanyang University.

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Remembering Joan

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17.06.2024

This past weekend, my wife and I lost a good neighbor, Mrs. Joan Ward. A wonderful spirit into her 80s, Joan lived a long and productive life. Passing on the day of Corpus Christi, the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, the Lord we trust in faith welcomed her to Heaven to reunite with her husband, son and the other faithfully departed. I want to provide a few thoughts about Joan as a neighbor and person. Perpetuating her memory is instructive.

Joan and her late husband raised three daughters as well as a son they adopted from Ireland. The three daughters all carry the same warmth of personality and regard for others like Joan. Joan worked in the medical field for 27 years, ultimately as a cardiopulmonary ultrasound technician at the hospital near her home. She helped thousands of people to better their health.

Joan enjoyed traveling and making trips to many places around the world. She also enjoyed day trips in the Chicagoland area and wider region organized for seniors by her neighborhood bank. Joan enjoyed visiting our home for dinner. She liked sitting around the fire in colder months. In addition to having........

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