Joan (McAlmond) Pelto (1929 - 2017)

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Joan McAlmond Pelto died January 31, 2017 of complications due to kidney failure. A fourth-generation Washingtonian, she was born April 25, 1929, in Dungeness, the daughter of Lyle and Thelma McAlmond. She graduated from West Seattle High School in 1946 and attended Washington State College in Pullman, where she graduated with a degree in Home Economics in 1950, also earning her credential as a Registered Dietician.

She married Mauri Jaakko Pelto in 1951, and they lived in the south Seattle area through the decade, welcoming David John Frederik Pelto and William Lyle Pelto to the family in 1955 and 1958, and developing strong ties to the Federal Way Congregational Church. In 1961, she and Mauri returned to Pullman, where Joan earned a master's degree in Food Service Management, and then moved to Corvallis, Oregon, where she taught Home Economics courses at Oregon State University. In 1966, the family moved to the Starr Hill neighborhood of Juneau, Alaska, where Mauri worked as an oceanographer for the federal government. Over the next twenty years, Joan enjoyed professional success as a dietician for the local hospital, legislative
lobbyist for the League of Women Voters, independent dietary consultant, teacher at the local alternative high school, and Chief Nutritionist for the State of Alaska. In that last job, which she held from the late 1970s to 1987, she traveled the entire state, providing services to communities such as Barrow, Nome, Kotzebue, Dillingham, Iliamna, Cordova, and most of southeast Alaska. In 1987, she retired, and she and Mauri were divorced.

She moved south the following year, returning to Corvallis to pursue a Doctor of Education degree at OSU, which she earned in 1991. After subsequent years in Seattle, where she cared for her ailing parents, Joan returned once again to Corvallis, where she renewed friendships, gained many new ones, and reestablished a deep connection with the First Congregational United Church of Christ.

Her retirement years included numerous travels around the US, often with Elderhostel, and to Europe and the South Pacific. In her last decade, she added cruise ship travel to her journeys, frequently joining David, Bill, and many other friends and family. She was a lifelong reader of mystery novels, crossword puzzle devotee, Mariners and WSU Cougars fan, and, of course, a renowned cook, especially of Pacific coast delicacies like salmon, oysters, and rhubarb pie.

She is survived by her sons David (Judith Anderegg) of Anchorage, Alaska, and Bill (Linda Larson) of Boone, North Carolina, by her loyal friends at the Regent of Corvallis, including "out-law" Milton Larson and table mates John and Anna Marie Holmes and Paula Dengler, by other members of the "Al-Can Four," who traveled by car to Alaska several times--Mary Blake, Eleanor MacDonald, and Priscilla Zaworski-and by many extended Pelto, Larson, and Anderegg family members and friends.
She was preceded in death by her great friend and "out-law" Billie Larson.

A memorial service will be held Friday, March 10, at First Congregational United Church of Christ, 4515 SW West Hills Road. Corvallis, Oregon, time to be announced. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Benton Hospice, Corvallis-Benton County Public Library, First Congregational United Church of Christ of Corvallis, or The OSU Symphony.
Published in The Juneau Empire from Feb. 9 to Mar. 8, 2017