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JOAN DANIELS


1939 - 2020
JOAN DANIELS Obituary

Joan Marie (Corcoran) Daniels AKA Joanie, mom, Grandma Joan, and most recently, Great Grandma Joan quietly slipped her earthly bounds in the morning hours of June 9, 2020, surrounded by close family. Joan was a high achiever and a self-described "people person." An extrovert to the nth degree, she loved meeting new people and socializing with those she already knew. To Joan there were no strangers, only friends she had yet to meet.

The oldest of five, Joan was born on Dec. 23, 1939, to Elizabeth and John Corcoran in Sayre.

She grew up in Pennsylvania, in and around the Susquehanna River valley, with her brother Jim and sisters Patty, Eileen, and Judy. Shortly after her brother Jimmy was born, their father "Jack" went off to serve in the Second World War. They tended their victory garden, budgeted their ration coupons, and learned to do without many comforts they had become accustomed to having. When Jack returned, they settled in Tunkhannock where Jack and Betty brought Joan's three sisters into the world. It was in Tunkhannock that Joan began her extensive and industrious education. There she graced the halls of Tunkhannock Elementary School, Tunkhannock Junior High School, and Tunkhannock High School. Joan participated in many extracurricular programs while striving for excellence and meeting her challenges head on. In 1957 she graduated with honors and a scholarship to Marywood College, 25 miles away in Scranton.

While attending Marywood College, Joan started dating Robert F. Daniels whom she knew from high school. Bob had a reputation in Tunkhannock; it seems he had a penchant for fast cars and motorcycles. Joan saw good things in Bob; he was clever, honest, had a good work ethic, and could make her laugh. Joan and Bob were married on June 27, 1959, in Binghamton, N.Y. They settled nearby in Painted Post, N.Y., where Bob worked as a draftsman and Joan waited tables. Joan did not resume her studies that fall as it became apparent she was pregnant. Joan sidelined her education while she and Bob started to build a family. Christopher was born in the spring in 1960 and Timothy was born in the spring 1961. In the summer of '61 Joan and Bob took a one-week trip to Los Angeles to look into the possibilities of relocating. With multiple job offers to Bob, they packed their two babies into a VW bus and moved to Southern California.

Once settled in Los Angeles, their family continued to grow. Another son, Jerome, was born in December 1962 and in the spring of 1964 their first and only daughter Roberta was born. Their youngest son Anthony was born early summer 1966.

Joan resumed her academic aspirations in 1970 and received her Associate's degree at Cypress College in 1971. That same year Joan began her studies at California State University Long Beach and plowed through her Bachelor's and Master's degrees. She graduated with top honors in 1976.

While blazing through the halls of CSULB, Joan began her long, dedicated career teaching English composition. Joan loved teaching and loved her students. She was fair-minded and treated her students with all due respect. She always kept her door open for students who were struggling and she always put in extra effort when they came to her for help, and Joan had a soft spot for students for whom English was a second language. Many of Joan's students became life-long friends with her and at least one of them would go on to a highly accomplished writing career in film and literature.

After finishing her Master's program at CSULB she began teaching part time at Cypress College. Around the same time she also began teaching English at Whitley College of Court Reporting. It was here that she first started to consider a career in practicing law.

In 1979 Joan left Whitley College, and while still teaching part time at Cypress College she dove headfirst into law school at Western State University in Fullerton. She finished in just three years and graduated with her Doctorate of Jurisprudence in 1982. Not one to rest on her laurels, she passed the California Bar exam the same year she began practicing law.

Joan's practice focused on family law and it was a challenge she took on with all the passion she did with teaching. And as in her teaching career, she was a champion for the underdog. Many of her clients were struggling financially and could barely afford to house and feed themselves and their children. A true social justice warrior, Joan sought to right wrongs and help people in need rather than fill her bank account with the spoils of their sorrows.

In 1989 Joan was offered a full time teaching position at Cypress College and maintained her full time law practice, too. She also served as Judge Pro Tempore for Orange County Superior Court and mentored students in the Puente program at Cypress College. She closed her law practice in 2006 and resigned from the California State Bar association in October 2007. She continued to teach full time and mentor disadvantaged students until 2016 when she retired from teaching.

Joan loved good food, good wine, music and dancing. It was at a dance hosted by Saint Bonaventure Catholic Church in 1986 that she met James Hassett. Joan and Jim shared a lot of things in common. Between the two of them they had twelve children, a couple of grandchildren, and a bunch more on the way. Before too long they were inseparable. Holidays were the best at Grandma Joan and Grandpa Jim's home. Joan was an amazing cook and she loved to host a feast for their extended family.

Joan and Jim loved to travel too. Together, they explored the far reaches of California wine country and held annual pilgrimages in the fall during harvest season. After shutting down her law practice she had summers off and she and Jim ventured further out. They explored the eastern U.S., Alaska, the Caribbean, Ireland, and much of Europe.

In early 2017 Jim was diagnosed with cancer. Jim passed away on Jan. 31, 2018. Joan was crushed. She was lost without Jim. Her health rapidly declined and she was hospitalized in May 2020. She came home in early June under hospice care. Her children and some of her grandchildren came to her side all together for her final days.

Joan was preceded in death by her father Jack; her sister Patty, and her life partner Jim.

She is survived by her mother (Betty is 101 as of this writing); her brother Jimmy; her sisters: Eileen and Judy; and all her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. She is missed terribly by us all. Perhaps she's teaching English to the other angels.

A memorial service and celebration of life will be held post COVID-19 so we can party like she would want us to. If you would like to be contacted when we set a date please visit Joan's memorial website http://www.jdlaw1982.net.


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