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Mount Sinai Obituaries and Services » Joan E. Landfield

Joan E. Landfield

June 9, 1938 - July 13, 2019

Service Information Mount Sinai Simi Valley

Service Date: Tuesday July 16th, 2019

Service Time: 3:00 pm

Mount Sinai Simi Valley

6150 Mount Sinai Drive

Simi Valley, California 93063

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 Joan Landfield was a thinker and a doer. She grew up in Gary, Indiana, went to college at UCLA and the University of Michigan, and was in the first group of Peace Corps volunteers under President John F. Kennedy. In the Peace Corps, she taught English in the Philippines. And while she felt the Peace Corps did worthwhile humanitarian work and supported the organization the rest of her life, she was also a vocal critic when she saw inefficiencies and over-spending on U.S. resources that she believed detracted from the full good the program was capable of.

After the Peace Corps, Joan taught public school in Chicago, and met her husband Jerome, an architect and Frank Lloyd Wright fellow. The two married and moved to Wisconsin, buying a farm to escape the cities where they lived among Prairie Style architecture close to Taliesin East, and raised a family.

The country pace was slower, but Joan was not. While raising young children, she worked as a substitute teacher—but when that wasn’t enough, she got a job driving a school bus, which, in Wisconsin winters, involved hair-raising maneuvers of a 40-foot vehicle down country roads and long driveways in snow and ice. But Joan had no fear. This was the right choice for both the income and the flexibility it gave her to see her children during the day. And, as they got older, to be their bus driver to school. During this time, she also completed her Master’s degree in education at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

A true firebrand, Joan also found time to rally at the forefront of the conservation movement in Wisconsin. Together, Joan and Jerome spent hours protesting habitat destruction that was meant to promote tourism and farming.

It wasn’t all work, though. Joan was a tennis player, and always had a weekend game going. She would bring all three kids along to ride Big Wheels courtside and torment each other. They were incapable of being quiet for serves. Joan also started a kid’s soccer club in rural Wisconsin in 1980—well before soccer was accepted as a sport in the U.S.

In summers, Joan and her sister Janet would take their children to Door County, Wisconsin. Days were spent fishing and skipping stones off the pier of the Lake Michigan cabin, catching crayfish, and going to fish boils and ice cream shops. The children, with little patience, also spent hours waiting around while Joan and Janet explored every pottery and glass-blowing studio on the peninsula from Egg Harbor to Gills Rock.

In 1985, Joan and Jerome moved the family to California. There, Joan began teaching grade school in the Santa Paula school district, taught herself Spanish, got three kids off to college, and in the early 90s, with the youngest finishing high school, the middle in graduate school, and the oldest launching his career, earned her Juris Doctor (JD) by attending law school at night. During this same time, she also invented a slide rule and learning system for early grades to teach reading and math more easily.

When Joan retired from teaching, she spent a lot of time in Florida with her sister Janet, and her other, younger sister Karen, and caring for their mother, Mildred Weiss. There was a lot of laughter, Gin Rummy, Bridge—and time with children and grandchildren in the pool and at the beach.

But for all her accomplishments, Joan will be remembered most for her endless well of love—and nonstop humor. She and her sister Janet were often howling at a joke—with their embarrassed children standing by. Like the time, pre-cell phones and Internet maps, when they drove with the kids through the Burger King drive-through to ask directions to the closest McDonald’s.

Joan was about life. Every minute of every day was productive, inquisitive, critical, and creative. Joan didn’t ever want to stop—even for gas. The tank would be perilously low as she said, “It’s OK, we’re going to keep going!”.

But most of all, Joan was incapable of any action less than loving, kind, and caring. Her family can’t remember a word of complaint, even as she battled Lewy Body Dementia later in her life. She will be eternally missed by her family. Husband Jerome, sons Daniel and Lauren, and daughter Anne. Her sister Karen; the children of her deceased sister Janet—Jacques and Kate; her grandchildren Nikita, Lance, and Landon; grandnephew and grandnieces Ren, Plum, and Cub; and the spouses Melinda, Ash, Sarah, and Michelle.

Donations in the memory of Joan can be directed to:

Lewy Body Dementia Association

Ojai Valley Land Conservancy

In lieu of flowers all donations may be made to the following organizations:

Lewy Body Dementia Association


Ojai Valley Land Conservancy