Joan Marie Carlson was born Aril 13, 1938 in Portland, Oregon to Arthur A. Carlson and Theodora G. Goodrich. They lived in Lake Oswego, Oregon, until her parents divorced. Her mother enrolled her in St. Helen’s Hall, an Episcopal day school for girls. She completed the eighth grade and transferred to Washington High School. During her junior year she received an American Field Service fellowship to spend a summer in West Germany.
Joan was awarded a full four-year scholarship at Stanford University which she entered in 1955 where she majored in German. While performing in a German version of Bertolt Brecht’s “The Caucasian Chalk Circle” she met her future husband, Hans-Juergen Dahlke, a graduate Civil Engineering student. In 1958 Joan was one of 63 students selected to attend the first Stanford Overseas Study Program in Beutelsbach, Germany (near Stuttgart). She graduated in 1959 when she and Hans were married in San Mateo, California. In 1961 they moved to San Diego, California where Hans taught Civil Engineering at his Alma Mater. In 1963 they moved to Corvallis, Oregon, for Hans to accept a teaching position in Mechanical Engineering at Oregon State University.
In 1965 our son, Paul, was born with a cleft lip and palate when Joan joined the OSU Speech and Hearing Clinic. Our daughter, Christa, was born in 1966. In 1971 Joan received a MA Degree in Psychology, Speech, and Reading. She also received her Speech and Hearing Certification from the American Speech and Hearing Association. Hans left teaching to accept a position at Westinghouse Hanford in Richland, Washington, at the Department of Energy installation. There Joan was hired as Technical Editor. She traveled frequently to Southeast Asia where she started teaching English to non-native speakers. After she moved to Idaho Falls, Idaho, she became an English as a Second Language (ESL) instructor to the various Southeast Asian residents of the area.
Between 1975 and 1997 Joan wrote about 4,000 poems on a variety of subjects: such as her foreign travels, foreign movies, the Amish life, and our cycling activities. Here is one of our favorites; showcasing her many travels and years or arthritis joint pain.
19 Mar 1976
of where we’ve been,
of this and that,
bits of thoughts
you’ve brought me,
to have been here
the trace of pain.
After Hans retired from his DOE position, Christa opened her house for us and we moved to Seattle, Washington to also join our son and daughter-in-law, Paul and Mary Mac.
Joan was officially diagnosed with Alzheimer Disease in 2013 and was moved to an Adult Family Home October 2015 close by to receive the care she then needed. She died peacefully in her sleep August 22, 2020. Her ashes will be deposited in St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church yard.
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