Joan Peterson

d. 3 Sep 2019

30 Aug 2020


I am so glad you shared the photos, the music, and your eulogy. I have finished viewing the photo album and am still listening to the beautiful guitar concert. I particularly liked the juxtaposition of old and new pictures of both of you. (I had forgotten your full-beard period!)

I remember in 1988 when I first arrived in Seattle for the job at UW. You and Joan pumped up the air mattress and welcomed me until I could find a place to rent. In fact when my first attempt to find a place turned out to be a dump, you both encouraged me to stay with you longer rather than spend even one night there. Joan was such a gracious and welcoming hostess.

Although I didn't see very much of her during our UW years, I always liked hearing about your adventures together. And then, after a blink of the eye, came the 2015 news of your marriage after 32 years together. While out of the country for your September knot-tying celebration, I remember fondly our Richmond Beach Thai dinner upon returning.

And then so horribly soon after came the terrible phone call. It's good that you asked if I was sitting down...

From your eulogy I learned that you had a silly side --not something I knew about, but we intellectual-nerdy types rarely share such things outside a very select circle of special people. And clearly the two of you had a very special connection. That was the thing that came through most vividly to me in our painful conversations last Fall. I got such a clear sense of the super-deep emotional connection and open communication that you two enjoyed. So rare; so crucial to a successful relationship.

Here is my attempt to capture how I think about what the two of you had... and have:


Opposites attracting... finding together an ever better place

Quantum-entangled throughout time and space

Sweet and silly combined to make a superior wine...

Deep affection the best catalyst --activating joy throughout time

A glowing screen and a glowing face

Remain alive in mind, giving a warm embrace

Indelible images, painfully past

Conjure good feelings sure to last

As the difficult days fade into years

May you find peace with fewer tears

Remembering Joan's traits that made you better

Pay them forward, as your undying tribute to her

Just so, a life becomes more than "tracks in the sand"

Leading hope onward in ways unplanned

Her boundless compassion and contagious smiles

Stir world-improving action, overcoming the inevitable trials

You may recall that in my UW "last lecture", I included an excerpt from John Lennon's "In My Life" and also part of Hoyt Axton's "Less Than the Song" to summarize my life and feelings. Part of the Hoyt Axton song that I did not include is as follows:

Different minds, different ways

Different reasons to believe

Some far journeys we have taken

Some sweet dreams we've had to leave

And I want you to be happy

And I hope you always will

For I cannot rest easy

Till all your dreams are real

Till all your dreams are real

I am visualizing you channeling those words to Joan...

I look forward to when we can share a chocolate dessert in her honor.

With love and friendship,