Joan Winston
1931 - 2008
Although known in the executive offices at ABC and CBS, Joan Winston will always be fondly remembered by millions of adoring fans as one of the most enthusiastic and energetic Star Trek fans. In 1972, after the cancellation of the Star Trek, Joanie (as she was known to friends and family) and a few friends (the "committee") decided to throw together a gathering of folks who enjoyed Star Trek as a tribute to their favorite show. This small gathering somehow was picked up in trade magazines and by word of mouth and quickly escalated to a gathering of almost 12, 000 fans. This was the birth of the Star Trek conventions and earned her the nickname "Mama Trek". Her role in Star Trek fandom has continued with her co-hosting 5 more Star Trek conventions and later, as a regular guest at Shore Leave conventions. Although Joan wrote a myriad of short stories for fanzines and other magazines, some science fiction and some romance, her best know works are "Star Trek Lives!" (which she co-authored), "The Making of the Trek Conventions: Or How to Throw a Party for 12,000 of Your Most Intimate Friends" and "Startoons" which she edited.

Services will be held Sunday September 14th, 2008 at 9:30am at the Plaza Funeral Home located at 630 Amsterdam Avenue in Manhattan. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to The Hebrew Home for the Aged at Riverdale located at 5901 Palisade Avenue, Bronx , NY 10471 who cared for her in her final months.
Published by New York Times from Sep. 12 to Sep. 13, 2008.
To plant trees in memory, please visit the Sympathy Store.
To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
Add a Message

Not sure what to say?

31 Entries
So many names in this guestbook that I recognize from my years in Trek fandom. First, those I met via the Star Trek Welcommittee, and then the acceptance by "The Committee" when I volunteered to work at their cons.

I first met Joanie in 1972, and started working for her publicity "department," which continued for the next four years.

Joanie was unlike anyone I'd ever met, even though I'd been exposed to "famous" people since childhood. Joanie Winston was a force majeur who ALWAYS had time for anyone, no matter how tired or frazzled she was.

I remember accepting an invitation to her mountain-aerie apartment. A walk-up, nach. She had the very first VCR machine I'd ever seen. And more memorabilia than I knew existed.

Even over 30 years later, after my own string of accomplishments, I am still in awe of Joanie.

She had class. She had style. She had a heart and the best damn joie de vivre I've ever known.

To her family and close friends, I wish you comfort and time to come to terms with this terrible loss.

And to Joanie, thank you for taking me under your wing. Thank you for spending precious time you didn't have with me.

Rest, not only in peace, but in joy and love, Joanie. Maybe we'll meet up again some day.
Nora Bock
October 27, 2008
Joan and her friends, those first Trekkers, inspired many of us to have hope for the future as well as to flex our creative muscles, and that has snowballed over the decades as younger, newer fans discovered Star Trek.

Feeling blue after losing three very dear friends I met through Trek, I picked up my copy of "Star Trek Lives"-- and felt that old excitement surge once again. Thanks Joan, so much. I never met you, but we understand your excitement-- the excitement of being a Trekker.
Valerie Herd
September 24, 2008
To Joan's family:

I am so sorry for your loss.

I will always remember Joanie's kindness to me when I was a teenaged Star Trek fan. I knew her quite well. She was unique and full of fun. I will always miss her.

Goodbye, Joanie!
September 24, 2008
As a member of "The Committee" that organized the original NYC Star Trek conventions, I knew Joan from a very unique perspective. The committee was for the most part a ragtag group of 20-somethings, and she became our den mother. When we would argue and bicker over arcane issues, she was our voice of reason and the ultimate arbiter. Where we were short-sighted and naive, she would always have the long view. In her way she taught and mentored us, and guided us through some of our most difficult moments. She was our persona of polish and professionalism in our dealings with Hollywood, the news media, and all the other entertainment groups and organizations. She had class and she had style, and she had a way of letting you know just how displeased she was in the most delightful of voices.

I lost track of Joan after the conventions, although I saw her name from time to time in fannish publications and on fannish websites, and in connection with various conventions. I heard about her medical misfortunes and the ups and downs of her literary career. But whenever I would stumble across something Star Trek on the internet, Joan's name and her accomplishments were usually just a mouse-click or two away.

A couple of years after I lost my office in the World Trade Center and relocated to Rockefeller Center, I learned that Joan was working as a law librarian in a law firm a short walk from where I was. Working up the courage one usually needs when reconnecting after 25 years, I called her, and we chatted for maybe 30 minutes or so. I called her a few times after that, and suggested we might get together for lunch. We never did, and the distinct feelings I had was that she was just plain tired. Her's had been a very full and rich life, and she had given far more of herself than most people do. I look back now and wish I had been more persistent in meeting, but I do understand her reluctance.

If there is one thing I take comfort in when thinking back about Joanie, is that from everything I fondly remember of her, I know she's definitely found her place in the aerie of the Great Bird of the Galaxy.
Steven Rosenstein
September 23, 2008
I first met Joan (never called her Joanie) at the second Trek con, when this shy 18-year old was thrust in her world as her assistant in the Press area. We became fast friends and I worked as her assistant for five wonderful cons. Our friendship continued many years after, including her mentioning me in her Making of the Star Trek Conventions book. We were members of the NY Science Fiction Society and we attended other conventions together, and she was a guest at my wedding with Startoons' artist Michael. We lost touch as we moved away from fandom and then New York. I am saddened that as I have returned to fandom and tried in vain to get in touch with her, I learned of her passing. I loved her dearly because of what she had done for me and I will miss her terribly. Prayers to all who knew and loved her.
Ellen Schlakman Braun
September 22, 2008
I had the honor of meeting Joanie years ago. She was instrumental in introducing me to fandom, publishing my cartoons in Startoons, and oh yes, bringing me and my wife closer together (she was Joanie's assistant at the first Trek cons, what stories she told me!) All our condolences, prayers and feelings to all her family (by blood or not). She will be sorely missed.
Michael Braun
September 22, 2008
I met you for the first time in a park near our apartments a little
over two years ago. You admired my little toy poodle. We had a few meetings after that and I always found you extremely warm,
witty and kind.

When you told me your name, it sounded familiar, but I had never attended any Star Trek conventions even though I was a fan of the show.

Thank you for all you did. I will remember you and our thoroughly
enjoyable conversations.

September 21, 2008
Joanie was a much-beloved annual guest at the Shore Leave convention and a fan favorite. She was also a dear friend with whom I enjoyed many long (always!) conversations about everything from Star Trek to figure skating--shared passions!

All of us who enjoy Star Trek conventions, indeed, all media conventions, need to take a moment to acknowledge the magnificent contribution that Joan Winston made to our lives. Back in the late sixties she and a few brave friends dared to dream that a little convention could be held where fans of a television show could meet to discuss it and share ideas and maybe meet one or two of it's stars. The only part they got wrong was the "little"! Over 35 years later ten's of thousands of fans have met at these "little" gatherings! Friendships have been forged, careers have been launched, and a million good memories created.

One of my best memories will always be having had the pleasure and privilege of having known Joan Winston.
Marilyn Mann
September 17, 2008
I think I met Joanie at Toronto Con around 1975. I was gophering, minding a door and feeling hungry because I'd had to skip breakfast and somehow I got into a conversation with her and before I knew it she'd brought me some danishes. I was impressed--here I was, a mere fan, and she was not only a BNF but a real author. But she was always "one of us". I was at the famous "scrod fingers" dinner that inspired a very funny series of cartoons that appeared in Joanie's Startoons book and we kept in touch, on and off. Years later, when I somehow "made good" and got a job at Paramount Pictures, overseeing Star Trek publishing, I got a call from her. She was in town and having a little get together with some other local fans, including Bjo Trimble and her hubby. It was a nice evening, and sadly, the last time I saw her. But I'll never forget her kindness, her love of Bill Shatner, her funny stories, or her willingness to share sweet rolls with a stranger. Say hello to De and Jimmy for me, JW.
love, Paula Block
Paula Block
September 17, 2008
Joanie was a valued contributor to Orion Press, but more than that, she was my friend. I miss our long talks on the phone about fandom, William Shatner, Jonathan Frakes, fanzines and other things. I thank heaven for having known her, and fandom has suffered a loss with her passing.
Randy Landers
September 17, 2008
will miss you Joanie... always sweet, and fun... loved working with you on those early Trek Cons, and seeing you at other cons.... will miss your smile....and your knowledge

Lynn E Cohen Koehler
(formerly of Philly)
Lynn E. Cohen Koehler
September 17, 2008
I remember Joan from numerous Shore Leaves and Orion Press gatherings. She was certainly and unique and outspoken woman. She will be missed.
Glenn Lash
September 16, 2008
Although I hadn't seen much of her in recent years, I always loved talking to her with her zest for life and enthusiasm. I bought her book on the Star Trek conventions, and she wrote a lengthy inscription on the front page, and I've always cherished it. I'm very sorry I passed up a chance to see her a few years ago. Watch out, heaven: you're about to have a lot more fun!
Eva Whitley (Chalker)
September 16, 2008
Thank you, Joanie. Back in 1991 you read an long since lost manuscript of mine, and called me up. I was 20 and wanted to write. We spent hours on the phone talking about Star Trek for a number of weeks. I never got to meet you in person but your spirit never left my side. I made it by the way. Published a few books (bestseller lists too) and made the odd film. Thanks for your encouragement and your graciousness. With much love x
Stel Pavlou
September 16, 2008
Her work showed me the wide range of Trek fandom. I knew I was not alone. May she rest in peace.

September 15, 2008
Although i haven't seen my aunt joan in years ,i will always remember her laugh and the fun times we had together on the holidays when i was just a child.You will be missed by many.
brian winston
September 15, 2008
I can not help but laugh with a tear while reading the entries in this guest book. To see how Joanie has impacted so many lives is a testament to her spirit. Joanie was known in the family as "Crazy Cousin Joanie." (With nothing but love) and her "talks" about her past adventures will inspire us all for a long, long time.

Well~ you will be missed...
Love Dave, Kim, and Amber
Tyler, Tania and Mikha
Dave Rosenfeld
September 15, 2008
Joan and I met when both of our appearances in Trekkies 2 were filmed. She was a very delightful lady who I loved meeting. Our meeting is one of my cherished memories of my years in fandom.

My thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends at this time.

Vaya con Dios, Joan. See you in that morning!
Dennis Rayburn
September 15, 2008
May the wind carry you wherever you wish. We'll all miss you.
Wendy Fisher
September 15, 2008
One did not meet Joanie, they experienced her & what a great experience it was! I met Joanie when she was the receptionist at my husband's company. Whenever I came up to the office to visit, she would always call me "Sweet Sue," & give me a big hug. Joanie marched to the beat of a different drummer & that was a good thing. Joanie loved to dance. I will remember fondly the office Christmas parties, and the tradition of her and Alan Koral sharing a dance. I loved hearing about how she danced with Fred Astaire. Feisty, spunky, and always a twinkle in her eye. That's the Joanie Winston I was fortunate to have known.
Sue Nadel
September 14, 2008
I am the primary author of Joanie's first published non-fiction, STAR TREK LIVES! by Jacqueline Lichtenberg, Sondra Marshak, and Joan Winston. One of the contributors to Joanie's book StarToons, Amy Harlib, is still a member of one of the discussion Lists. Sondra Marshak went on to publish with Myrna Culbreath an anthology of Star Trek fan stories that had been planned as the center piece of Star Trek Lives! From there, Sondra and Myrna published several Star Trek original novels. I published a number of SF novels, many with Jean Lorrah (a ST prof novel writer) in my Sime~Gen Universe which contains Trek elements.

Joanie's spark was like that. She started, and others exploded out into new avenues of creativity. She built networks of people and harnessed their creativity with her enthusiasm to change the world. You'd listen to her talk from a stage and you'd walk out of the room convinced you could do -- whatever you needed to do.

And you'd do it, too, because the energy Joanie gave away so freely didn't just sputter and die. It endured.

To see how the Trek Conventions which were so much a result of Joanie's enthusiasm still, to this day, bind a vast group of creative people together, see

The point is, Joanie created enduring relationships through her work with Star Trek -- and half a dozen other fandoms including Figure Skating fandom. We'd talk for hours about Brian Boitano!

I've put my shock on a shelf to get the word out via Newsletters, Discussion Lists, blogs, social networks. There will be buckets of tears. This is a sad, sad week! We're inviting remembrances and tributes to Joanie for a page at

Live Long and Prosper,
Jacqueline Lichtenberg
Jacqueline Lichtenberg
September 14, 2008
Working "backstage" at all of her N Y cons, I saw Joanie go way out of her way, many times, for a lot of fans who needed different kinds of help over the years. She made sure people were treated fairly. That about sums her up to me and a lot of others.
david lomazoff
September 14, 2008
I never got to see or meet Joanie, but I remember the joy I felt when I first saw Star Trek Lives! and the excitement that it brought into my life through involvement in fandom that I didn't even know existed before that book. Thank you so much for broadening my horizons and introducing me to wonderful authors and friends! God speed.
September 13, 2008
You brought out the best in everyone you met and your face would always light up when you saw a friend. Even your gossip was uplifting as you never said a negative word about anyone. We all love you.
Anne Pinzow
September 13, 2008
Winston Family,

I am very sorry about the loss of your loved one. To lose someone in death is so hard to cope with. God promises "he is near to those that are broken at heart; And those crushed in the spirit he saves." My thoughts are with you during this time of sorrow.
A. R.
September 13, 2008
My deepest sympathy and condolences to the family.

I never got to meet Joanie, but I did see her onstage at one of the conventions she hosted.

I know much more about her through her Sime~Gen friends, of whom I consider myself a member.
Midge Baker
September 13, 2008
Joanie was the epitome of elan, a mixture of grace and chic, style and warmth-- all New Yorker, all guts, all heart, a class act. I will miss her.
Nell Kozak
September 13, 2008
Dearest cuz,
We never did get to have that lunch in NYC...Hope you've found peace at last and you are flying high.
Susan Ferber
September 12, 2008
Oh, Joanie, you will be sorely missed!
Jean Lorrah
September 12, 2008
A prayer is sent above in loving memory to a wonderful person that will be missed by many.
Wanda Maynard
September 12, 2008
We love and miss you.
Tracy Rezani
September 12, 2008
Showing 1 - 31 of 31 results