My grandmother, Joan Shannon, was a dancer. As a teenager in New Jersey and New York City, she studied modern dance under Martha Graham. Rather than joining Graham's company, she chose to go to Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio. While at Antioch, she was asked to teach modern dance classes, and met William G. Shannon, the returning vet who became her husband for 68 years.
1. A very young Joan bravely standing at the railing on a ferry in New Jersey. (1920s)
Joan was born Jewish and Bill was Maronite Catholic; both their families came together to support them. The two married in 1947 and first lived in New York. From their wedding day until the day of her death, both families celebrated holidays together.
On December 26, 1958, Joan, Bill and their two young kids moved into an old farmhouse in Kensington, MD, where Joan still resided when she died exactly 60 years later. She was 93.
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Her guiding principle was always to look for the good in each person. She believed in giving of herself in support of others so they could thrive and flourish.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions in her name to the Encampment for Citizenship (encampmentforcitizenship.org), a social justice program Joan and Bill supported that empowers young people to make a positive difference in their communities.
Expats, those who have left their home towns, travelers and freaks are especially welcome.