Another sad day.
I just returned from the funeral of a dear friend.
My friend Joan, entertainment editor of The Montclair Times, who I worked very closely with for eight years from 2001 to 2008, died last Friday at the age of 82:
Our desks were right next to each other, so we were very close. Plus, she was my favorite co-worker from the get-go. She just had this positive spirit that made me want to be her friend.
Joan was an attractive lady with a lust for life. She always came to work with her hair done beautifully and perfectly matched her jewelry to her outfits. She never gossiped. She just loved to talk about cultural things and all the fun we had in our personal lives. She never spoke of boring, mundane topics like doing laundry or getting your nails done — it was always about music, and theater, and restaurants, etc. She was just so upbeat — always. I never saw Joan mad about anything and she never complained. Working together so closely for seven years and we NEVER had a fight or disagreement. Except when I said I was thinking of leaving Montclair Times, she was discouraging me because she didn’t want me to leave! She even had her good friend try to talk me out of leaving! And that was the only time I was mad at her. Ha-ha, I gotta laugh now though, it was cute that she went to such extremes to try to keep me there!
Joan was super funny and we had so many laughs. I could talk to her about ANYTHING. She was so hip, she just “got it.” She’d really take her time with young kids who were starting out in the entertainment business and offer advice to them. She was so completely supportive of the arts/entertainment community. She was always eager to help give someone a start in their career. If I had friends perform at the local bar Tierney’s, she’d put them right on the front cover of the entertainment section.
Joan was a very hard worker and always had her section published a week before deadline. She loved to work and always came in smiling and waving this cute little wave. It was adorable.
Thanks to Joan, I had hundreds of articles published in the entertainment section and met so many terrific people in the industry. I was so grateful for the opportunity, yet she always made me feel like I was helping her so much — like I was doing her the favor, when in reality if it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t have stayed at Montclair Times so long. Of all the jobs I had in my life, I stayed there the longest. And every year on my birthday and for Christmas, Joan gave me amazing gifts to show her appreciation. Not to mention all the entertainment freebies.
Joan and I hung out together outside of the workplace too. We went to plays, restaurants, bars and jazz clubs together. I got to see her beautiful home too. We went to the Christmas parties together. She was like a big sister or aunt to me. I told her everything! She always gave great advice, some of which I’ve included in my business newsletters (and when she saw the emails she just KNEW I was speaking of her wisdom!)
When I left Montclair Times in 2008, Joan shed a tear and walked me out to my car, helping me carry all my belongings that were stored in my desk for seven years. And since 2008 Joan never forgot to send me a birthday card and even sent me a card when I got married.
I only visited Joan a few times since I left Montclair Times. We kept saying we’d have lunch someday but never got around to it. The last time I saw her, earlier this year, she was frail and seemed sad.
When I heard of her retirement, I was excited for her but deep down it didn’t sit right with me because I knew she absolutely adored her work and said she wasn’t ever going to retire. I had a strong feeling it was just a matter of time. And sadly I was right.
I am so blessed for having the opportunity to work so closely to such a fascinating, inspiring woman. I lost the one photo I had of us together, but I saved quite a few emails she sent me that I will cherish.
Joan will not be forgotten. Not by me. Not by many.
Rest in peace, beautiful Joan. As I said to your daughter today, I loved you! (And will always love you!)