Joan Heinsohn

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  • "I was saddened to learn of Joan's passing. I had the good..."
    - Jan McNeill
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Heinsohn, Joan

Joan Heinsohn passed away peacefully in her sleep Wednesday, February 8, at Monzano del Sol Village Retirement Center with members of her family at her side. She was 81 years old.

She was born Dorothy Joan Davey in Courtdale, Pennsylvania on March 6, 1935 to Richard and Susan Davey. She graduated from high school in Amherst, NY and then went on to earn a Bachelor's degree in Education from Syracuse University in 1956. During her time there she also met her soon-to-be-husband, Norman Churchill. The two were married after graduating. After having their first child, Susan, the couple moved to Albuquerque in 1960. Two other children followed, Jackie in 1961, and Gregory in 1963.

Beginning in 1967, Joan started an education career that spanned 27 years. Her work included teaching at Sunset Mesa School, Yucca Elementary School, and Comanche Elementary School. She advanced to both Assistant Principal and Principal positions at Alvarado Elementary School (1974-1980), and then Principal at Comanche Elementary School (1980-1982).

Between 1982 and 1985, Joan worked at the University of New Mexico as Supervisor of Student Teachers. During that time, she earned a Master's degree in Education from UNM. Next she managed the Teacher Learning Center for two years, followed by the Albuquerque Public School's cabinet position of Supervisor of Elementary School Teachers (1987-1989). She served as Deputy Superintendent of Albuquerque Public Schools from 1989 to her retirement in 1994. After her retirement from APS, Joan also served for two years on the New Mexico Commission on Higher Education.

Joan was respected by faculty and students alike. As expressed by one of her former colleagues "It always amazed me how she had time for everyone â€" children, parents and staff. She made everyone feel valued and lightened many burdens with her great compassion, wit and wisdom. She had a special vision about people. She was able to look at a person not as they are, but more in terms of what they could be and then she was always there to inspire and help us aspire to that potential. She always brought out the best in people."

Joan married Robert (Bob) Heinsohn in 1977 and the couple enjoyed 37 years together before Bob's passing in 2014.

Joan is survived by daughters, Susan Churchill of Albuquerque, Jackie Churchill of Fremont, California; and son, Gregory Churchill of Anthem, Arizona; and grandchildren, Caley McGuill of Chandler, Arizona, Andrew Parker of Albuquerque, Rachel Parker of Vallejo, California and Reeve Churchill of Anthem, Arizona. She is also survived by her sister, Marilyn Davey of Oceanside, California; and her brother, Richard Davey of Washington, D.C.

In accordance with her wishes, a small family Memorial was held to lay Joan to rest, next to Bob, at the Santa Fe National Cemetery on March 6, 2017.

Please visit our online guest book for Joan at

Published in Albuquerque Journal on Mar. 19, 2017