Joan Elizabeth Hitchcock(December 7, 1917 - January 14, 2013)

Joan Elizabeth Hitchcock

December 7, 1917 ~ January 14, 2013

SALINAS, CA - Joan Elizabeth Hitchcock was a lady in every definition of the word. Full of elegance and grace with a hint of pixie is how those who knew her would best describe her.

Joan was born in Fresno, California on December 7, 1917 to Wilfred Charles Hewitt Gruit and Mignonette Dickinson Myers Gruit. She grew up in Sierra Madre and Santa Clara, California. She attended San Jose State University, where she graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Communications. She was also an active member of the University's Alphi Chi Omega Sorority.

She met her husband, Elmer Hitchcock, in Salinas in the late 1930s through their mothers' acquaintance. They courted for a while, and after several offers of marriage by Elmer, Joan eventually decided that if she continued to say no, he might stop askingÉso she asked him. He, of course, said yes. They were married in San Rafael, California, on January 14, 1940, and started their family shortly thereafter. They had two sons, Gerald "Jerry", born in 1941, and William "Bill", born in 1943.

Joan and Elmer shared a passion for travel and sailing (mostly around Monterey Bay and San Francisco). In 1955 when Elmer sailed to Hawaii in the Trans Pacific race, Joan flew over to meet him at the finish line, and their mutual love for "the Islands" was born. Since that trip, she has traveled to Hawaii approximately 55 times. While she has been to every one of the Hawaiian Islands, her favorite and most frequently visited was Maui.

Over the next decade, Joan and Elmer developed a love for golf as well. They were charter members of Corral de Tierra Country Club, where they enjoyed many social gatherings with friends and family over the years. Joan always loved attending and hosting parties, traveling the world with Elmer, and keeping busy in her kitchen. She was renowned for her chocolate chip cookies (affectionately known as "Granny Cookies" by her youngest great-grandchild, Gavin Flynn), her apple pies (as she always said, "an apple pie without the cheese is like a kiss without a squeeze"), and wonderful jams and jellies.

She adored her friends (both young and old) and her family. Her family and friends adored her in return and will always remember her by sharing stories and fond memories of her wonderfully long and full life.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Elmer and her son, William "Bill".

She is survived by her son, Gerald "Jerry" Hitchcock of Salinas; a grandson, Ben (Karen) Hitchcock of Sheridan, Montana; and a granddaughter, Kristy (Shane) Flynn of Salinas; three great-granddaughters, Kallie Hitchcock (19), Sabrie Flynn (12) and Sarah Flynn (10); two great-grandsons, Aidan Flynn (8) and Gavin Flynn (5); a step-granddaughter and step-grandson, Sheena Grimsbo of Lakeview, Oregon and Kiel Olson of Sheridan; as well as three nephews, and various other extended relatives throughout the Salinas Valley.

On January 14, 2013, she went home to her beloved Elmer on what would have been their 73rd wedding anniversary. She was a lady to the endÉand a lady always knows when it's time to go.

The family would like to extend a special thank you to some of Joan's dear friends and caregivers who were by her side at the end of her life journey; dear friends, Elisabeth Isbill, Carolyn Sanders, Manjit Belanger, "the Smith Girls" Sherry Pauly and Sally Rhodes, Joanne Nissen and caregivers, Shanna Salafai and Patricia Rodriguez.

A memorial service will be held at Struve and Laporte Funeral Home on Monday, January 21, 2013 at 10:30 a.m., followed by a lunch reception at the Salinas Elk's Lodge at noon.

For those inspired to make contributions in Joan's memory, suggested organizations include Alliance on Aging, Community Foundation of the Monterey Peninsula, VNA Central Coast Hospice, Inc., or donor's favorite charity.

Funeral arrangements are by Struve and Laporte Funeral Home. To offer online condolences visit:

Funeral Home

Struve and Laporte Funeral Chapel
41 West San Luis Salinas, CA 93901
(831) 424-0311

Published in The Monterey Herald on Jan. 17, 2013