ALGONQUIN – Johanna ("Joan," "Doanie") Copel (nee Rauschert), 81, of Algonquin, lived her life with grace, dignity and resilience, which she demonstrated through the last two years of a difficult illness. Joan took flight from this world on Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013.
She leaves her beloved husband of 56 years, Roger; and her cherished children, Marguerite and her husband Ron of Guilford, Conn., Nicole and her husband Brad of La Veta, Colo., and Roger (Sam) and his wife Evie of Grand Junction, Colo.
She was the proud grandmother of two adored granddaughters, Allison and Tess. She also leaves her sister, Maryette McLaren of Roanoke, Va.
Her brother, Paul Rauschert of Cary, preceded her in death.
The daughter of the late Etta (nee Thoms) and Paul Rauschert, she was born March 22, 1932, in Elgin. She graduated from Northwestern University
School of Medicine in Evanston in 1954 with a degree in physical therapy. She also received a master's degree in special education from DePaul University and a master's degree in outdoor education from Northern Illinois University.
As a Northwestern graduate, she worked with young polio victims in Northern Illinois. A lifelong learner, she transitioned to sharing her boundless talent, spending three decades with Summit School, a school for children with learning disabilities, as a founding teacher.
The children she brought into this world along with the students she nurtured and guided at Summit School carry on her legacy. She also was loved and respected by her many friends and colleagues.
An active community volunteer, Joan was Founder's Favorite for Founders' Days in Algonquin for her years of support and leadership of Art in the Park and other Founders' events.
She also gave her time and energy to the Algonquin Historical Commission to preserve the village's history and heritage.
An adventurous spirit, she and her husband set foot on every continent. They celebrated the new millennium drinking champagne and watching the sunrise in Antarctica, laughed at the blue-footed boobies on the Galapagos Islands, reached to the heights of Machu Pichu, camped in the rain forests of the Amazon, marveled at the terra cotta warriors in China, locked eyes with elephants peering into their safari tent in Zimbabwe and spent countless hours in the roundabouts of their beloved Europe.
And if that wasn't enough she was a private pilot, logging many miles in the sky.
Please join her family in celebrating her life. Service is at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 6, at Emmett's Restaurant, 128 West Main St., Dundee. Donations may be given in lieu of flowers to the food bank of your choice or the U.S. Olympic Committee at TeamUSA.org/give.
Wait-Ross-Allanson Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Algonquin, is in charge of arrangements.
For information, call 847-658-4232 or visit www.lairdfamilyfuneralservices.com.