Talented artist, writer, and teacher Joan Irene Shalleck died in her Kings Point, Florida, home on August 30, 2021. She was 90 years old.
A proud Brooklynite of Russian heritage, Joan was born in 1931 to Herman and Lillian Grossman. After graduating Midwood High School she attended Goddard College in northern Vermont then returned to New York City to pursue a fine arts degree from the esteemed art college at Cooper Union. She later gained another degree in teaching from Pace University in Pleasantville.
After a stint working in Manhattan as a researcher for Time, Inc. Joan took an extended trip through Europe. While abroad she met Alan Shalleck, also a New Yorker, at the American Express office in Paris, whom she married a year later. The couple spent some years living and working in Montreal, then returned to New York City and had their first son, David. Alan's work as a director for children's television led to an opportunity with CBS and relocation to Philadelphia, where they had their second son, Adam. Soon thereafter the family moved to the town of Ossining located along the Hudson River in Westchester County, New York.
Joan revered the works of the 19th century Hudson River School landscape painters and was inspired by contemporary artisans of the region. She immersed herself in her local community by being the artist-in-residence at the Ossining Public Library, taught summer art classes to children, and made spectacular auction items for the annual Teatown Lake Reservation fundraising events. Her personal artwork included sculpture, wood-block print, silkscreen, fabric applique, macramé, illustration, and painting.
As one of the first residents of her neighborhood in Kings Point Sun City Center, Joan welcomed her move to Florida with open arms and a continual interest to share through teaching. For many years she inspired adults to capture their own life experiences in the personal memoir writing classes she taught at the Hillsborough Community College. Joan was also very fond of her neighbors and friends who consistently availed themselves to lend her a helpful hand.
Ever the jovial raconteur, cookbook aficionado, and connoisseur of dark chocolate, Joan adopted a segment from the Robert Frost poem, "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" to motivate her through her later years: "I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep."
Joan is survived by her two sons and her two daughters-in-law whom she cherished.
Published by River Journal from Sep. 17 to Sep. 18, 2021.