Joan was born on October 9, 1930, in Oklahoma City. She was the daughter of longtime Oklahoma Congressman, Jed Johnson, Sr. and Beatrice Luginbyhl Johnson. As a result, Joan lived in both Washington, DC, and Chickasha, Okla., and was future Oklahoma Governor David Boren’s babysitter.
Joan was preceded in death by her husband, Dale Eugene Stauffer; her parents; her sister, Jean Fisk and brother, Jed Johnson, Jr. She is survived by her sister, Janelle Seiberlich; son, Neal Stauffer and his wife, Kathy Stauffer of Tulsa; her three granddaughters: Shelby Bennett and husband, Hank of Tulsa; Jo Anna Sommerville and her husband, Derek of San Clemente, Calif.; and Katie Stauffer of Norman. Joan is also survived by her two great-granddaughters, Riley and Baily Sommerville and her daughter, Laura Stauffer and her husband, Bert Fisher.
Joan received her associate’s degree at Mount Vernon, Washington, D.C. Joan also attended Oxford University in England where she studied mid-Victorian literature before earning a degree in letters from Oklahoma University. She was a member of Chi Omega and Phi Beta Kappa. Joan married Dale Stauffer, the love of her life, soon after graduating from OU. Joan and Dale met in high school, and both said it was love at first sight. Soon after their marriage, Dale reported to the Navy and was stationed in San Diego, Calif. He served in the Korean War on the USS Uhlmann (DD-687).
During Dale’s first year of active duty, Joan lived with her parents in New York City where her father was a federal judge at the US Custom Court. In New York, Joan worked for the Play of the Month Club. She landed the job after answering a New York Times ad seeking a Phi Beta Kappa. The job required Joan to attend and review Broadway plays and pick up tickets for club members. What a job! The following year, she moved to California while Dale finished his tour of duty. In California, Joan taught history at El Cajon High School.
In 1955, Joan and Dale moved to Tulsa where they started their family and began their community involvement. Joan joined the Junior League of Tulsa, where she and other league members formed the Gillies docent program at Gilcrease Museum. Joan gave tours of Gilcrease to many VIPs including Henry Kissinger. She eventually served as the President of the Junior League of Tulsa as well as the chairman of the board of directors, president and lifetime director emeritus of the Thomas Gilcrease Museum Association. Joan served on the board of directors for the Tulsa Mental Health Association and the National Foundation, and she served on the board of director for Drivers, the women’s auxiliary of the Community Chest. She also worked with Oklahoma Educational Television, the University of Oklahoma Association, Tulsa Junior College and Children’s Medical Center.
Joan’s many good works and dedicated community service were recognized in 1983 when she was selected as one of 20 “Women in the News” and again in 1985 when she received the Governor’s Award for Community Service. Most recently, in February 2015, she was honored as a “Jewel of Tulsa” by the Junior League.
Joan’s involvement in Gilcrease and her love for Western art led her to Nancy Russell, the wife of Charles M. Russell, the American western artist. Assisted by Dale’s thorough research and his endless support of her efforts, she wrote and published “Behind Every Man, The Story of Nancy Russell” in 1990. Joan used her Broadway experience to bring Nancy Russell to life in a monologue she wrote and performed over 100 times all over the United States, including at the C. M. Russell Museum in Great Falls, Mont., and the Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City. Joan’s last performance as Nancy Russell was in 2010 at the Gilcrease Museum. In 1992, Dale and Joan were named honorary Chairmen of that year’s C. M. Russell Auction held in Great Falls, Mont. In 2002 Joan and Dale were honored with the Scriver Bronze for their outstanding contribution to the C. M. Russell Auction and the field of Western Art.
Her life-long interest in the arts and literature lead her to membership in Ruskin Art Club and her book-club, the Bookies.
Joan gave the best of herself to her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was always ready with encouragement and kind words. She was in their corner. Joan was all about living life to the fullest. One of her favorite quotes was, “Life is a buffet and some poor suckers starve to death.” She lived with grace and found the best in every situation. She was loved by all.
The family thanks St. Francis Hospice, Brenda, Niki, Angela, Rochelle and Jessica for their compassionate care.
A memorial service will be scheduled in July.
Moore’s Southlawn (918) 663-2233 share memories at www.moorefuneral.com.