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Joanie McGuern left this life the way she lived it for 89 years, without complaint and proudly independent. Joanie was born July 18, 1933 in St. Louis, Missouri, the 2nd of four daughters to Robert and Samantha (Pells) Bennett. At the age of three, Joanie traveled by train with her family to Southern California where her father began his career in the movie industry. They lived on a ranchette with horses and chicken; animals were a big part of her life. At the age of 9, Joanie won an art scholarship out of 300 valley high school students, though she was only in grade school. Joanie attended Hollywood High, and went on to Idlewild, CA in the mountains as the camp equestrian counselor for the campers. Skiing was a love of Joanie’s, other than giant slalom she remembered group ski trips to Aspen. $75 covered transportation, lodging and lift tickets. She would return to Aspen during those early years, a sleeping bag on the floor at Ed’s Beds was $1 a night. It was at Squaw Valley where she met Frank McGuern and married him 2 weeks later. Four children and 7 years later they divorced. She supported her children in the San Fernando valley by painting, initially. She worked in the antique business in a shop on Topanga Canyon, amassing quite a collection for herself in the process; the stock of which she used in trade the rest of her life. After marrying Dick Kwiatkowski in the mid ‘60’s, they left Los Angeles for 17 acres up Cattle Creek. After that dissolution she moved to town and worked for Bill Bullocks, later at Through the Looking Glass, nurturing her love of reading.
She married Merle Hauschel, and moved to New Mexico, before traveling around New Zealand.
She continued to adventure, spending as much time in the mountains as possible. She lived in Key West for a year, and in her 60’s spent one summer riding the Monk Dawson trail, wrangling cattle from Colorado to Wyoming. She traveled solo to Alaska and went to Arkansas to dig crystals. She was an avid reader and an excellent cook. She prided herself on her holistic approach to life.
She was the most fearless, independent, imaginative, gutsy, determined, artistic, spiritual, and unapologetic woman most of us will ever know. As time reduced that independence, bent her and slowed her, she kept her indomitable spirit and positive attitude as she relied on the generosity of true friends.
In addition to close friends, Joanie is survived by her children Debbie (Bob Van Iderstine) Tucker of Grand Junction, Michael McGuern of Sho Low, AZ, Laura McGuern of Boynton Beach, FL, and Brenda (Michael) Shearer of Los Angeles; as well as 6 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren. She is preceded in death by her parents, and 2 sisters.
Per Joanie’s wishes, cremation has taken place, and she will be scattered in her beloved mountains in the Glenwood area. A celebration of life will take place at a later date.
If a man does not keep pace with his companions perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music he hears, however measured or far away.
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