Joan Esther McGuire
Joan Esther McGuire, who was the driving force behind the 2003 restoration of Seattle's 100-year old Immaculate Conception Church and who, in a 30-year career as Director of Nursing Services at Northwest Hospital in Seattle, oversaw the development of the city's first in-hospital hospice for terminally ill patients, died on Wednesday, May 29, following a short illness. She was 88.
Joan arrived at Immaculate Conception Church as a volunteer in 1975. By that time, the church had fallen into disrepair, the victim of neglect, vandalism and urban flight. In 1998, she was promoted by the Archdiocese of Seattle to Parish Life Coordinator at Immaculate, a role she held for seven years.
Using her skills as an organizer, fundraiser and activist, she led the restoration of Immaculate, a significant event in Seattle's constantly evolving Central District. The 2003 reopening of the restored church was hailed by a grateful Archdiocese and parishioners, and covered by The Seattle Times.
A devoted Catholic from birth, Joan served as a volunteer for multiple Seattle parishes for more than five decades. She was an activist for parish programs for children and undertook many acts defined by the Archdiocese as Corporal Works of Mercy.
As Director of Nursing Services at Northwest Hospital, Joan made significant strides in improving work conditions and recognition of nurses as an integral part of patient care within the hospital.
A positive force, and voice, for improving patient care, Joan developed a childbearing project at Northwest Hospital where families could participate in the birthing process. She also developed an in-hospital hospice for terminally ill patients. Both of these projects were the first of their kind in Seattle.
In 1995, Joan received the Katharine M. Bullitt Award from the Alliance for Education as "Volunteer of the Year" based on her work with teen mothers at John Marshall Alternative High School.
Gracious and humble in the face of her successful charitable work, Joan would count among her greatest accomplishments the raising of her seven children.
Joan D'Andrea was born in Ellwood City, Pennsylvania in 1924. She graduated from Providence Hospital School of Nursing, Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, in 1946 and received additional education in nursing and women's health at University of Pittsburgh and Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1946/1947.
She was preceded in death by her husband of 39 years, Martin Justin McGuire, who died in 1993, and her eldest son, John, who died in 1991. She is survived by her daughter Mary Roberts, married to Fran Robbins; son Mark, married to Patricia Raskin; son Patrick, partnered to Shawn Shirey; son James; son Richard, married to Sharon; and daughter, Letitia Lee. She also is survived by six grandchildren (Donald Roberts, Justin Roberts, Kyle McGuire, Megan McGuire, Erik Westfall, Alex Westfall), and one great-grandchild, Carter Westfall.
A memorial service will be held Thursday, June 6, at 11:00 a.m. at Saint Catherine of Siena Church, 814 N.E. 85th Street, Seattle, WA 98115. Should friends desire, memorial contributions may be made to Catholic Community Services of Western Washington, Office of Mission Resources, 100 23rd Avenue South, Seattle, WA 98144, a community organization Joan supported throughout her lifetime.
Published in The Seattle Times from Jun. 1 to Jun. 2, 2013.