Joan Kathryn Van Slyke, 85, died just as the sun was dawning a new day Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019, at her home at Solterra Senior Living in Lakeside. She was born Tuesday, Dec. 12, 1933, in Superior, Wisconsin to her parents, the late Frank O. and Alice Joan (Dhooge) Brousseau.
Joan attended Hawthorne High School in Hawthorne, Wisconsin. In 1951, at the young age of 17, she moved to Tucson. Her uncle helped to get her established and prepared her for a professional life that served her well and, blessed her family for decades to come. Within a short period of time, Joan began working for Hughes Aircraft in Tucson as a secretary. She met the love of her life, Herbert "Herb" Van Slyke at a dance hall in Tucson. Theirs was an instant chemistry and the young couple quickly fell in love. Herb proposed and Joan said, "Yes!" They were married just before Christmas Dec. 20, 1952. While living in Tucson, they owned and operated a small gas station that everyone knew as Herb's Texaco. Herb served in the United States Air Force for several years.
Following his honorable discharge from the Air Force, Herb and Joan moved to Alpine, Arizona, where they owned several business which included: The Alpine Garage, The Mountain Hi Lodge and The Tackle Shop. During their time there, they knew just about everybody in town. Herb, for the most part, ran the businesses and Joan kept immaculate books and kept everything in its proper place. Together, they were an unstoppable team. She and Herb were generous with their bounty and, unbeknownst to her, they donated the land to the town of Alpine to build its Fire Department where, even today, it's in full operation. Their son, Rex, worked there at that Alpine Fire Department for 15 years and now, his son, Zachary, works there.
In 1999, Joan and Herb made the hard decision to move to Show Low from Alpine. While living in Alpine, they made hundreds of friends and grew to love their community very much. After moving to Show Low, they continued to make good friends wherever they went. Their influence will be felt for years to come. In February 2010, Joan's world was turned upside down when her husband of 57 years passed away. She missed his companionship and his friendship a lot and, though it seemed to be an almost impossible task, Joan pulled herself up, with the love and support of her family, and was able to find joy once again.
Joan was a child of the Great Depression that plagued so many Americans during the '30s. With her childhood experience, as she grew into a young woman, and later, becoming a wife and mother, Joan didn't waste anything and took nothing for granted. She had a very organized mind and always kept things in their proper places. Joan taught her family, by example, "the value of hard work in making an honest living." Her family also said, with a smile, that "she taught them to not keep secrets; though, she kept a few to herself." Learning to quilt at a young age, Joan was an avid quilter throughout her long life. She literally, made dozens of quilts over the years. Those who have one of her quilts, consider them to be priceless treasures. Her large family will miss this "one-of-a-kind" woman but, they are so grateful they were able to be called "hers."
Joan is survived by her four children: Raymond Van Slyke of Alpine, Denise (Gary) Engels of Alpine, Rexford (Jenni) Van Slyke of Monterey, California, Dawn L. (Douglas) Coplan of Show Low; 18 grandchildren and 26 great-grandchildren.
Along with her parents and husband, Joan was preceded in death by her two brothers: Philip Brousseau (who was a P.O.W. and M.I.A. of the Korean War) and Leo Brousseau.
A special graveside service for Joan will begin at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 3, at the Show Low Cemetery where, she will be laid to rest alongside her "forever sweetheart," Herb. All are invited to attend and are encouraged to dress warm for the service. Memorial contributions, in her name, to The White Mountain Hospice Foundation: P.O. Box 1975, Lakeside, AZ 85929 have been suggested by her family.
Joan's family is thankful for all of the expressions of sympathy they have received, during this special time of the year, and are especially grateful for all of the prayers offered up in their behalf.
Owens Livingston Mortuary of Show Low handled arrangements.
For those who have special memories and would like to send private condolences or sign an online guest book, visit www.owenslivingstonmortuary.com.