JOAN HIMMELHOCH (1936 - 2019)

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Joseph Gawler's Sons, LLC
5130 Wisconsin Ave NW
Washington, DC


Joan Z. Himmelhoch  

On April 4, 2019. Born Harriet Joan Zinck to loving parents, William Clement Zinck and Harriet Alexandra Dale on July 7, 1936 in New Britain, Connecticut, Joan was a member of a close-knit family descended from Johann Caspar Zinck of Nova Scotia, Canada. A true Daddy's girl, she and her three sisters, Margaret Elizabeth, Sheila Ann, and Anjela Joy, moved with their family around the northeastern and midwestern United States until her parents settled in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
She discarded her first name and gained a husband when she married her college sweetheart, Samuel Ralph Himmelhoch, on June 15, 1958 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She was raised in the Protestant faith and converted to Judaism upon her marriage.
She and her husband settled in the Washington, DC area, where she spent many years as a stay-at-home mother before helping her husband set up and run his medical office. When she was widowed on April 21, 1983 at the young age of 46, she had two children in college and two in high school. Undaunted, she launched her own business as a CPA and ensured all her children had a secure college life and warm home to visit. She participated actively in community life, joining Soroptomist International and sitting on the Montgomery County Commission on Landlord Tenant Affairs. She purchased land on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and planted thousands of loblolly pines. When her children were all college graduates and launched on their own careers, Joan began another adventure, traveling to Kazakhstan with the Peace Corps.
Upon her return from Kazakhstan, Joan moved to New York City to be close to her precious grandchildren. For several years she delighted in her work as nanny to two of her grandsons. When Parkinson's disease caught up with her, she retired from her final career.
Joan was an avid knitter and craftswoman. She made beautiful sweaters, smocked dresses, toys and doll's clothes for her children when they were little and spent many years making a handsewn quilt, gathering scraps of the family's clothes and collecting other beautiful fabrics into a living history that now hangs on her son's wall.
Joan is survived by all four of her children and her much-loved daughter-in-law, Seth (Carolyn Mahler) Himmelhoch, Rebecca Simmons, Sarah Himmelhoch, and Joseph Himali, as well as three beloved grandsons and two adored granddaughters. Two of her sisters, her "almost-twin" Sheila and younger sister Anjela, also survive. Her eldest sister, Margaret Elisabeth (Betty), died on March 4, 2018.
Joan was cremated and a memorial to celebrate her life is being planned for the summer of 2020 when all of her family can be together to celebrate the wonderful life she lived. Memorial donations to the American Chestnut Foundation ( or any environmental charity are welcome.

Published in The Washington Post on June 22, 2019
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