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Joan Stapleton

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Joan STAPLETON 1957 ~ 2009 Joan Hatfield Stapleton left this world far too soon for all who knew and loved her, and also for those who never had the privilege to know and love her. While she lost her courageous battle with Stage 4 Melanoma on December 23rd, she kept her incredible spirit and sense of humor to the end. Born on November 11, 1957, Joan grew up on Mercer Island where she attended Forest Ridge Elementary and High School. After High School, Joan attended the University of Oregon. Upon returning to Seattle, she met the love of her life, Tom Stapleton, whom she married on Valentine's Day, 1988. Beautiful, creative, intelligent & extremely funny, her talents seemed best used in the field of law. She eventually became an invaluable team player at Stafford Frey Cooper where she worked as a legal assistant for the past 7 years -- most notably as the mover behind the scenes for the firm's nationally-known defense attorney, Anne Bremner. She also became deeply involved in volunteer work with organizations such as the Northwest Center for the Disabled, the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center, and the Friends of Amanda Knox. She was also instrumental in the defense of the Mary Kay Letourneau civil trial & the Atlas Foundry and Olympic Pipeline explosion cases. Joan counted all clients - judges, police officers, and abuse victims - as true friends. A brilliant writer, joining forces with Bremner she reduced the complex litigation between the Seattle Times and the Seattle P-I to a Dr. Seuss rhyme in an article that was nominated for a national journalism award. She also co-wrote pieces for the Seattle P-I; her final entry appearing on the front page. The books in progress at the time of her untimely death are anxiously awaited by all. Joan approached her cancer treatment in her typical "Life is Beautiful" mode by saying she was simply going to "Camp Cancer" for awhile. In a selfless style uniquely Joan's, she wanted to promote the importance of Melanoma awareness. Preceded in death by her father Ivan Hatfield, Joan is survived by her beloved husband, Tom; mother, Mary Maude Hatfield; brother, Philip Hatfield; sister, Kelly Neuharth; nephews, Carl and Kidder; niece, Madison; many adoring aunts, uncles & cousins, including Phil Knight and Mark Hatfield; plus her cherished dogs Lola and Buick Roadmaster. Amidst a host of friends andco-workers are dear friends Johanna & Karen We will miss you always Joanie, yet your spirit will be with us forever. A funeral mass to celebrate Joan's life will be held on January 9 at 11 am at St Monica's Church on Mercer Island. In lieu of flowers remembrances may be made in Joan's name to the Fred Hutchinson Melanoma Research Fund or the Seattle Animal Shelter.
Published in The Seattle Times from Jan. 3 to Jan. 5, 2010
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