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Joan Rose Martin

Joan Rose Martin

"How Old Would You Be If You Didn't Know How Old You Are?" - Satchel Paige.

Joan Rose Martin, generous friend, spirited conversationalist, trendy fashion queen, and the most youthful of spirits, died peacefully at her home on September 9, 2014, after a courageous fight with cancer.

Born in 1931 in the small Hudson River town of Tompkins Cove, N.Y., to a gentle, loving father and an assertive, resourceful mother, Joan was a wonderful blend of these qualities. Her mother thought she looked like John D. Rockefeller at birth.

Her formal education began with a mile walk to first grade at the age of 4. As a self-described 'prissy', hard-working student, she was often aghast at the antics of her little brother, Walter. She enjoyed math but struggled with chemistry, leaving us with the unexplained mystery of how she became a biochemistry major in college. At 16 she attended Franklin College, and while there, met an 'older' man, Navy veteran Jerry Martin, on a blind date. Jerry was her first and only love, and after graduating they moved to Schenectady, N.Y., where they began a family and 62 years of marriage.

As a mother and wife, Joan was the glue of the family. She encouraged, advocated, kept the peace, pushed, teased, critiqued, drew lines, erased lines — all while making it look so simple.

Joan pursued a myriad of interests throughout her full life. She was an accomplished folk art painter and after her kids left the nest, she scaled the ladder at a local bank and was mistaken for Vice President on more than one occasion. Her flower garden was a magical place for her, a reminder of a favorite childhood playground — her grandmother's beautiful Victorian garden.

Over the last few years Joan didn't slow in her pursuit of adventures, friendships, and good works. She enjoyed her beloved Mah Jongg Mavens, water aerobics (unless it was too cold), spirited discussions at the First Congregational Church, many volunteer organizations including P.E.O., Garden Club, and Tri-Delta, and monthly breakfast get-togethers with her wonderful friends that usually lasted through lunch. Her humor and sharp wit, positive attitude, and open-mindedness drew all sorts of people to her amazing being.

She was exceptionally proud of the accomplishments and character of her daughters, Nancy and Cynthia, and her grandson, Kirk, commonly referred to amongst her friends as 'The Prince'. She advocated for them her entire life, and was a quiet activist for LGBT acceptance. While frustrated that her illness kept her from seeing many friends over the past five months, her eyes glistened with joy to spend so much time this summer with her 'girls'.

Joan is survived by her husband Gerald, daughters Nancy Edmonds (John) of Houston, and Cynthia Martin (Selisse Berry) of Berkeley, Calif.; grandson Kirk Edmonds of Tampa, Fla.; and brother Walter B. Rose (Betty) of Goshen, N.Y.

A celebration of Joan's life is scheduled for 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014, at the First Congregational Church of Hendersonville.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations to honor Joan be made to either the First Congregational Church of Hendersonville (1735 5th Ave W, Hendersonville, NC 28739), or to the Hope Chest for Women (P.O. Box 5294, Asheville, NC 28813).

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Shuler Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.