Gunderson East Funeral Home
5203 Monona Drive
Monona, WI 53716
(608) 221-5420
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Joan Marie Wallace Hart

1941 - 2019
Joan Marie Wallace Hart Obituary
Joan Marie Wallace Hart

Madison, WI - Joan Marie Hart died on October 7, 2019 at Agrace hospice following a brave, almost two year struggle with cancer. Joan was born January 22, 1941 in Orient, Iowa to Paul and Esther (Christiansen) Wallace. She attended school in Orient, graduated From Creston, IA High School, and Marycrest College in Davenport IA. Joan received her master's degree in biology from Creighton University in Omaha, NE in 1964 and taught biology at Cardinal Stritch College in Milwaukee for one year.

Joan married Michael Hart in 1965 and they raised four children, living in San Francisco, CA for 4 years, Washington, DC for 3, Columbia, MO for 2, Iowa City, IA for 20 (where she was a vital member of St. Mary's parish and co-directed the St. Anthony's Bread Fund for charity), and Madison, WI for 24. At every stop she collected wonderful friends and was a wonderful friend in turn.

Intelligent and talented, Joan chose to focus her time and energy on her family and on the communities in which she lived. She loved and supported her husband, children, and granddaughters in large and small ways—whether providing sage counsel and an empathetic ear, overseeing Suzuki lessons, filling her butcher block table with fresh produce from her garden, or soothing a hurt. And she was the driving force within numerous organizations - from the PTA to neighborhood associations to political caucuses. A great listener and eager to learn from others, Joan made each person she met feel valued. She cared about those in need and worked to achieve governments that serve all. A voracious reader, Joan treasured words and recognized their power for good or evil.

Always open to new experiences and new ideas, Joan loved to travel, seeing new places and making new friends. With her beautiful smile and lovely laugh, Joan warmly welcomed into her home many strangers, including students and faculty from other countries, often providing them a home away from home. She reveled in the time spent in exercise and talk with a group of Madison women friends of over twenty years.

Joan fought hard to preserve the architectural and cultural landmarks of Iowa City and Madison, protecting this historical heritage for generations to come. Her home was a museum of furniture and other artifacts of historical value. Joan researched and placed two homes on the National Historical Register in Iowa City. Her home in Madison was built by Timothy McCarthy as his own home. McCarthy was a Madison contractor who built four wings of the state capitol building, St. Patrick's church and several university buildings, including Science hall and the Old Red Gym. Joan succeeded in having the McCarthy home placed on the National Historical Register with a Madison Landmark designation.

Even as faced with various health challenges, Joan continued to nurture her cherished family and serve her community, always honoring the words that she lived by, "I'll do as much as I can for as long as I can." Joan always put the needs of others over the needs of herself. Her warmth and kindness enveloped all who knew her and served as a constant lighthouse of hope for all the lives she touched. She will be greatly missed by her many friends and loving family.

Joan is survived by her husband, Michael, her twin sister, Judith, son Joseph, daughter Este, and granddaughters Alexandria and Eva Lazarus. She was preceded in death by her brother Richard, son Vincent and daughter Kristina.

A memorial service will be held at 11 am (with visitation from 10-11) on Saturday, November 2 at Holy Wisdom Monastery, 4200 Co. Hwy M, Middleton, WI 53562. In lieu of flowers please contribute to the St. Vincent DePaul Society, Joan's favorite charity. Online condolences may be made at

Gunderson East Funeral & Cremation Care, 5203 Monona Drive, (608) 221-5420
Published in the Press-Citizen from Oct. 10 to Oct. 12, 2019
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