Cattaraugus County GenWeb
Joan E. Dawson
Olean High School Class of 1959

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Joan E. Dawson
1942 - 2010

Joan E. Dawson
Class of '59
Joan E. Dawson
1942 - 2010

Joan E. Dawson of 211 South 5th Street, passed away Saturday, March 20, 2010 in the Olean General Hospital.

A life-long inhabitant and enthusiast of Olean, she was born on February 2, 1942, at the St. Francis Hospital, the daughter of Harold J. (Pat) and Angela Ann O'Donnell Dawson.

Joanie, as she was often called by family and friends, attended St. Mary's of the Angels Grammar School and Olean High School, graduating in June of 1959. She attended Barry College/University in Miami Shores, Florida, and Mansfield State University in Pennsylvania, and received her B.A. degree in English from St. Bonaventure University in June of 1964.

In September of 1964 Joan moved to Vestal, New York to begin her thirty-four year career. She taught one year in a school in Vestal, New York, before accepting a position in the Olean Public Schools in 1965. She remained teaching, primarily at Washington West, until her retirement in 1998.

Joan's interests were many; her awareness of others was constant and genial. Out-going, but never intrusive, infinitely respectful of the rights of others, Joan had a wry wit, which she would bring into play at unexpected moments. She enjoyed writing poetry and her humor often involved a play on words, blandly stated, but highlighting what little might be worth a smile, particularly in a difficult situation. Her "children", that is her relatives and her student "children," and their world views and escapades were fond subjects of her conversation and smiles. She always enjoyed Halloween time with the arrival of her neighborhood visitors and the children of her former students. She had a digital camera memory, incisive and detailed, of long ago and current moments, with exact verbal conversations "simultaneously recorded."

Dogs and animals in general were a love for Joan throughout her life, and all species great and small, dogs to squirrels, flocked to her and were cared for with gentleness and compassion. She enjoyed traveling and had special interests and ties to Florida and New Orleans. Scrapbooking, with family pictures embellished with appropriate, often humorous, poetry and quotations was a great pleasure for her, and, ultimately the scrapbook recipients, in the last ten years.

She was a member of St. Mary's of the Angels Parish and the Olean Teachers Association, which was a source of warm long-lasting friendships and camaraderie, strengthening her ties to Olean and its inhabitants.

Surviving Joan are a sister, Ann Dawson Johnson, and her husband, Charles L. Johnson, of Florence, Massachusetts; her elder niece, Kristen Ann Johnson and Josh Shanley of Broad Brook, Connecticut, and her niece, Amy O'Donnell Johnson Levonas and her husband, Robin, of Holmdel, New Jersey; a nephew, Brian Dawson Johnson, M.D. of Florence, Massachusetts; and her friend, Leslie Go, M.D., Northampton, Massachusetts. She also has a "grand" level niece and nephew, Emily Anne and Christopher Levonas of Holmdel, who were a source of great joy and many long telephone calls. Joan is deservedly much loved and will be clearly remembered with pleasure and warmth by her family and her friends.

Friends will be received on Friday, March 26, 2010 from 6:00 to 9:00 PM in the Letro-McIntosh-Spink Funeral Home, Inc. #646 E. State Street, Olean. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday, March 27, 2010 at 9:30 A.M. at St. Mary of the Angels Church. The Rev. Gregory J. Dobson, Pastor, will officiate. Burial will be in the St. Bonaventure Cemetery, Allegany, NY.