Age 84, born Jan. 5, 1935, in Grand Coulee, Washington; passed away Feb. 1, 2019, in Seattle.
Joan lived an exceptional life. She loved dancing — foxtrot, waltz, tango; and when asked, at age 78, what she would want if stranded on a desert island, she teasingly answered, “Music, a man, and champagne.”
Joan grew up in the small town of Winthrop, Washington, the third child of six, born to Floyd Kent, a log truck driver, and his wife, Anna. Joan was a unique child. Beautiful, demure, mild, she nevertheless possessed a tenacious spirit and a deep desire to live a fuller, broader, richer life, than the one her family set before her. When young, she stopped using her given name, Barbara, and took to using her more winsome second name, Joan. Her boisterous siblings described her as “drifty,” “different,” “particular.”
She was a successful Girl Scout, diligent school girl, loved and memorized Wordsworth, won awards for penmanship, for perfect school attendance, went to Girl’s State, and worked part-time at Winthrop’s Farmers State Bank. Always attractive, at 17 she was elected to be Winthrop’s Apple Blossom Princess; and, in 1954, she graduated from Winthrop High School and into the wider world.
At 19 she married Tom Flynn, MA Education, and with their two children, Michael and Michelle, lived overseas for many years — France, Germany, Turkey, Japan; and traveled to places as far afield as Tehran, Paris, Istanbul, Cairo, Berlin, Damascus, Tarsus, Reims, Monaco, Venice, Rome, Pompeii, Biarritz, Madrid, Seville, Oslo, Amsterdam, West and East Berlin, Munich, Salzburg, Zagreb, Bern, Genoa, Nara, Kyoto, Tokyo, Asmara and many more places large and small — experiences that she was proud of and cherished to the end her life.
In 1968, she moved to Seattle; began a 30-year career in banking; married Paul Englehart; enjoyed boating in the San Juans; vacations in Hawaii; and a close host of dear friends and supportive colleagues. After her career in banking, she retired, single, to the warmth and sun of Arizona where, in 2005, at the age of 70, and after four years of being courted, she married, Carroll “Cy” Meyer, a retired military intelligence officer living in Sierra Vista, and, again, enjoyed a close set of dear friends, good neighbors, and a fine new family
Her last 12 years were difficult. Widowed, ill, anxious and plagued by mental decline, she was set upon by poor northern relations; was convinced to abandon her life, friends and family in Sierra Vista and move to the isolation of North Central Washington — the very place and culture she had spent a lifetime fleeing. Three times this happened, in 2009, 2012 and 2013. But, to her great credit, once “north” and realizing the deception, she immediately chose freedom: twice returning to her life in Sierra Vista, in late 2009 and in 2012; then, finally, in 2015 returning to Seattle, where she had lived the bulk of her adult life.
Throughout her life, Joan, possessed an extraordinary capacity to win and hold close friends. Most remarkable is Cathy Weir, now of Fort Collins, Colorado, whom Joan met in Chateauroux, France, when both women were young mothers taking cooking classes together. The two old friends exchanged letters to the last months of Joan’s life.
In the end, Joan loved her children, her friends, her long career, her life overseas; loved beauty, music, dancing, and abundance, but most of all, she loved her freedom. And by this, Joan hoped to be a model to future generations of her family, showing that life, no matter how difficult it begins, can be made into a thing of adventure, beauty and maturity.
Joan is survived by her children, Michael and Michelle Flynn; her children by marriage, Michael Paul and Cindy Englehart; C.O., Dianne, John, Peggi and Paul Meyer; sisters Elinore Drake, Nancy Kamstra, and Judy Pock; brother, Read Kent; and many loving nieces and nephews.
Memorials may be made by keeping fresh flowers in your home, helping a child memorize Wordsworth’s “The Daffodils,” and, on Joan’s birthday, or whenever the air is still, listening to Albeniz’s Asturias. Joan was an exceptional child; an exceptional woman. She, now, rests in the hands of God.
A full, formal memorial in Winthrop this summer will be announced at a later date.
Watch the video for Barbara Joan Meyer: http://www.tributeslides.com/tributes/show/2G26Y282KLPJC9ZW.