Joan C. Owen
March 4, 1944 - July 27, 2013
Resident of Portola Valley
Joan C. Owen died peacefully at home of natural causes on Saturday, July 27, 2013.
Joan was born to Joseph and Rachel Catalano in Manhattan, New York. After Woodside, Queens, Joan's early years were spent with her family in Port Washington, New York and her ''cousins by the dozen'' at her family's home in Ridgefield, Connecticut. She graduated from Rosemont College and New York University. She married Larry Owen on July 27, 1968, and they moved to the Bay Area shortly afterwards. They made their home a place of warmth, love and light for countless friends, relatives, students, and animals.
Joan taught English for 46 years. Starting in the New York City public school system, she went on to teach at Marian Peterson and Adrian Wilcox High Schools in the Santa Clara Unified School District from 1972 to 2012. At Wilcox she served as English Department Chair from 1979 onward. She also prepared teachers in Stanford University's Teacher Education Program and served as a Bay Area Writing Project Teacher Consultant for 23 years. Joan was honored as the School District's Teacher of the Year in 2004. During her career, Joan inspired thousands of students and mentored generations of student teachers, new teachers, and administrators.
Joan was always ready to listen, love, and act in times of need or moments of joy. She loved to laugh and she laughed often, and well. She was an avid reader and writer, a dynamic party planner and hostess, a chef extraordinaire, a selfless mentor, a careful editor, champion of the arts, fashion consultant, wedding officiant, animal lover, a generous philanthropist, and a dear friend.
Joan is survived by her husband, the legendary international real estate investor Larry Owen of Portola Valley; her brother and her sister-in-law, Joe and Joan Catalano, and her niece and nephew, Lucia and Joey Catalano, of San Francisco.
Joan was the perfect godmother to Sarah, Bevin, Ashley, Matthew and Sierra, and acted unofficially in that role to many, many others.
A memorial service will be held in early September. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Joan Owen Scholarship, Wilcox High School, 3250 Monroe St., Santa Clara, CA 95051.
Published in San Jose Mercury News/San Mateo County Times from Aug. 2 to Aug. 4, 2013