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Joan Copper Patton

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Joan Copper Patton Obituary
JOAN COPPER PATTON (1916 - 2013) Joan died at age 97 on December 6, 2013. Born in Burbank, CA to Gretchen and Charles Copper, Joan attended high school in Los Angeles, then enrolled at Riverside Junior College. As editor of the Tequesquite yearbook, she worked with journalism professor, Robert Patton. They fell in love, and when Joan transferred to UC Berkeley in 1935, Robert was heartbroken. They eloped in 1936, and Joan returned to Riverside to make a home and start a family. She adored motherhood, sewing all her two girls' clothes, writing stories for their Sunday school classes and leading Scout troops. In the early 1960's, her girls now older, Joan enrolled at UCR to finish her studies, receiving a BA degree Cum Laude in 1964. She taught elementary school for a few years and then turned her energy toward the city she had grown to love. For years she was a member of the Friends of the Riverside Library, writing plays and essays based on classic works and hosting "Jane Austen" teas at her home. Passionate about plants and their historic value, she became a Master Gardener and fought together with Riverside conservationists to save orange groves threatened by development. She also helped secure Victoria Avenue's status as a historic landmark. In the early 1990's she co-founded and co-directed the Riverside Dickens Festival. For several years, she wrote and produced plays based on Dickens novels for production during the Festival. She and her husband were also world travelers, visiting many countries in Europe and Asia, and taking trips to visit the grandchildren whom she missed and adored. After her husband's death in 2000, Joan purchased a home in Santa Cruz, California, where both her daughters lived. She was active in the local Shakespeare Club, and made many new friends. In 2006, she relocated to an independent living residence in La Jolla. Throughout her life, Joan inspired others to follow her example, not only as a writer and community activist but also as a dedicated home maker and mother. She had a bright and curious mind, and a heart as big as the earth itself. She will be terribly missed. Joan is survived by her two daughters, Jane Edelman and husband, Larry, of Laguna Niguel; Sharon King and husband, Jim, of Santa Cruz; grandchildren Yuri Petroff, Natasha Petroff, Elijah Gladden and Joshua Gladden; great-grandchildren Anya and Noah Petroff-Howarth, and Stella, Gavin, Lila, Isabel, Beatrice Gladden, and Dax and Roman Petroff; and daughters-in-law Kim Tosdale Petroff and Chelsea Gladden. She was preceded in death by her husband, Robert, in 2000. A private memorial is planned by family members. Persons wishing to honor Joan's memory might make a contribution to Doctors Without Borders USA, P.O. Box 5030, Hagerstown, MD 21741-5030.


Published in Press-Enterprise on Dec. 15, 2013
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