White Lake - Joan Pepper-Cauthers, proprietor of Joan Pepper Real Estate, entered into rest on Wednesday, October 17, 2007 at Albany Medical Center. She was 78. The daughter of George and Mae Comens Fijux, she was born on June 5, 1929 in Queens, N.Y. Joan created her own life, and was determined to never live a boring day, and she stood up to that promise to herself every day. Joan raised her two girls and never sat by to watch the world go by. Her first job as a teenager was painting faces of dolls at a local factory. As a stay-at-home mom on Long Island, she never could contain herself to be ordinary. She trained her horses to perform tricks, hauled horses and farm animals to New York City to do TV commercials, and she fit well even in the company of celebrities but she was always "Joan." Then the trip upstate with horses in tow, little money and the move to "Haywire Ranch," a dream come true, a time of life to struggle, no money, and the usual act. Joan got to work and never gave up. Lots of waitress jobs followed to make money to feed the horses, and keep the Ranch going. Joan's next step was the most precious endeavor, "Grand Marshall at Monticello Raceway." She was the ultimate cowgirl- flashy, classy, and beautiful. She met her lifetime cowboy there and then they were "One." Herbie always says, "Everyday with Joan was a good one, she always gave more than she ever took." Herbie and Joan's marriage wasn't just a marriage; it was and still is a union of hearts, a horse-crazy history, hard work and survival. She was our role model. Having fun was an integral part of their everyday. Joan was quite the character! Their daughters, Jeanne and Susie read their Mom and Herbie's life as you would a great "Western Romance" novel with no ending. Then Joan created another life, "Joan Pepper Real Estate," a success that didn't come easy either, but it became a part of who she was. Herbie and Joan became a tag team. Joan was not just smart, she was honest, earned her way from the bottom of the heap, a tough cowgirl, loving, and she will forever leave us with conversation of all she showed us. Joan never got to write her own biography, but we all have hundreds of written words to sustain us. Family statement reads: Mom taught all of us how to live with great "spirit" her work ethic will always be in this family. Her cowgirl way and "Howdy Pardner" will be a trusty trail partner for her daughter Jeanne. "There are a lot of good horses up there in Heaven so ride like the wind, mom. We will all be watching!" Happy trails forever. Joan leaves behind her loving husband, Herbert Cauthers, at home; one brother, George Fijux and his wife, Jeanne, of Cape Coral, Fla.; one daughter, Jeanne Kern and her husband, Gary, of Neversink; three grandchildren: Travis Hartman and his wife, Diana, of Woodbourne; Lacey Lautenschlager and her husband, Eric, of Albany; Danny Kern of Neversink; and three great-grandchildren: Andrew, Austin, and Aidan. One daughter, Susanne Worrell, predeceased her. A funeral service will be held on Saturday, October 20, 2007 at 11:00 AM at Colonial Memorial Funeral Home, 396 State Route 52, Woodbourne, NY. Interment will follow at the Glen Wild Cemetery in Glen Wild, N.Y. Memorial Contributions in Joan's name may be sent to: The ER Staff and Neurology at Albany Medical Center, 43 Scotland Avenue, Albany, NY 12208. Arrangements are under the direction of Colonial Memorial Funeral Home, for further info. Please call us at 845-434-7363 or visit our website at www.colonialbryantfuneralhome.com
Published in Times Herald-Record on Oct. 19, 2007.