Around 7pm on Friday the 28th of May, we lost Joanna Caitlin Wheaton, age 29, in a tragic biking accident involving a vehicle that ran a red light. She was a triplet, survived by her siblings, Jonathon Tyler Wheaton and Jenna Renee Wheaton, and her parents, R John McKinley Wheaton and Joyce Race Wheaton.
Joanna grew up in Poway, a suburb of San Diego, California, where she was a spectacular athlete, gifted student and hilarious friend at Poway High School. She graduated from UCLA with a major in Political Science, and minors in Urban and Regional Planning and Environmental Studies, having worked with several organizations on and around campus, most of which focused on protecting the environment.
Joanna lived, worked, and adventured abroad for several years, developing an international network of beloved friends. She then moved to Flagstaff to attend Northern Arizona University, the first graduate of the Data Science major, with two additional minors: Math and Economics. Joanna continued to live in Flagstaff post-graduation with a commitment to community activism.
Joanna's activism was rooted in building a better world; she devoted herself to bringing this vision to life. Loyal to the current of justice, Joanna was a selfless and dedicated community builder. She tirelessly fought for those often overlooked, including the Flagstaff unsheltered community, and was a champion of local initiatives to defund the police. Joanna was gifted at bringing hard truths to light, leveraging well-researched statistics, while always allowing room for laughter and fun. Those who knew her remembered her as a person of consistent joy, unrivaled wit, and almost unbeatable at Catan.
There are no shoes to fill, because Joanna would have been barefoot, but the walk forward continues together. The fire that Joanna lit within each of us is an intimate and personal flame. It is our service and our charge to nurture and preserve this flame, never allowing this light to be extinguished. Let her be a continuing catalyst for creating a more just and loving society. May we rise to our responsibility of integrating Joanna into our days, our lives, our dreams and our work. Thank you, Joanna. We love you.
Please join us for Joanna's Celebration of Life at 11am on Monday, June 21, 2021, at Old Poway Park.