Journal entry by Joan Shelton

We have posted notices in newspapers, but there is also an online obituary if you wish to read it (you might find out something you didn't know!). There is also a guest book. Both are hosted by Rapp Funeral Services/ Click here to visit the page.

we have been told that the links I had embedded don't work. I will try to fix that, but in the mean time if you click on the word "link" at the end of the sentence, it will take you to the organization donation page. I am working on fixing the overall problem now - I think maybe the people who posted didn't realize the information was there...

But in the mean time, you can also go to the previous post ("Honoring Mom") here at caring bridge for the charity links.
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Journal entry by Joan Shelton

Dear Friends and Family,

As you know from the previous post, we will soon be gathering to mourn Joan's death, and also celebrate her life. In case you did not see the last post, the Memorial Service will held Saturday, December 1, 2018 at 10:30 in the morning. It will be held at:

St. Stephen and the Incarnation Episcopal Church
1525 Newton St NW,
Washington, DC 20010.

Afterwards there will be Haitian snacks and shared memories in the adjoining parish hall. In lieu of sending flowers, Mother wanted donations sent to assist the people of Haiti. She favored those engaged in the practical endeavors of providing nutrition and education. Below are three organizations that were close to her heart, should you wish to donate.

St. Vincent’s Center for Children with Disabilities in Haiti ( is an organization serving approximately 200 Children with disabilities each year. Mother’s friend, The Rev. Frantz “Fanfan” Cole, helps manage its daily activities, and is it’s spiritual director. To donate, follow this link:

The Episcopal-run Bishop Tharp Technology Institute
 ( focuses on providing college-level education in the fields of Computing, Business, and Accounting, thus fostering economic development and helping create sustainable solutions 
in Haiti. Her friend, Rev. Dr. Kesner Ajax, is the Dean.To donate follow this link:

The National Association of Episcopal Schools runs a variety of programs including school food programs.  You can find out more about them here: Go directly to their online donation page here:



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Journal entry by Joan Shelton

Dear family and friends,

We have tried to contact as many of you as possible to tell you before posting the sad news that Joan died Thursday November 15th. She died peacefully at home, and was surrounded by family. 

The memorial service will be held Saturday, December 1st, 2018, at 10:30 am at:

St. Stephen and the incarnation Episcopal Church
1525 Newton St NW
Washington, DC 20010

We hope that you will be able to attend the service, and afterwards to share stories and memories if you wish.

In Lieu of flowers, mother wanted donations to assist the people of Haiti. We are setting up a mechanism to do that, and will post it here shortly.

She was, and we are, so grateful for all your caring kindness in her final months. Thank you again for all you have done and continue to do.

Alison and Eleanor


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Journal entry by Joan Shelton

It is with heaviness of heart that we write to say that Mother is in the final stages of her disease. She has not eaten since Wednesday, her vital signs are declining, she struggles to breathe, and she is unresponsive.

She is surrounded by her family and friends, and by her church family from St. Stephens & the Incarnation. Friends have visited her in the past few days, including one friend from her first days in Washington 50 years ago. Her grandchildren are arriving this afternoon. Several clergy from St. Stephens came this morning for a short service. We do believe she can sometimes hear us and visitors who tell her about shared memories, pray with her, or just chat. 

Mother is comfortable now. She has had bouts of anxiety and congestion, but with help from the hospice we are doing all we can to relieve these. 

We greatly appreciate all the love and prayers that you are extending to her, and to us, at this time. 

Journal entry by Joan Shelton

Mom had a quiet weekend. She enjoyed watching "Strictly Ballroom" and began the Brother Cadfael series. Much to my surprise, she had never seen any of the series before. She also enjoyed listening to Agatha Raisin (by M. C. Beaton) audio books. 

She seems to be sleeping more and eating and talking less, although she has her ups and downs... When she's awake she seems in good spirits. It is possible that she's just getting on a mixed up sleep schedule because she sometimes watches videos until the wee hours... 

The window cleaners will be coming to clean her windows on Wednesday, so that may be a little added excitement and fresh air, and help get her back on a normal day/night schedule.

But for now, if you wanted to visit or call and share your news with her, evenings are probably when you'll catch her at her best.

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Journal entry by Joan Shelton

Mom had a 4-day visit from granddaughter Sophia. Sophia is very tactile and Mother really seems to appreciate her touch and even the odd cuddle.

Mother is sleeping more these days. When she's awake, she's usually engaged and follows along. She  appreciates her 40s movies (props to Sophia for fixing the audio) and stays glued to them for the requisite hour and a half or two hours. She does, however, seem to need more rest and sleep these days.

We made orange sauce with Grand Marnier for crepes and mixed some of the good stuff in with ricotta cheese so Mother could share in the experience. She smiled blissfully--a nice change from apple sauce!

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Journal entry by Joan Shelton

Mom had a peaceful and nostalgic weekend. She watched one, two, three movies from the 1940s and 1950s, and stayed glued to the screen for the length of each movie. After each movie she declined offers of classical music and audiobooks and just wanted to lie back and think about the movies. She probably never imagined, when she first saw these movies in the theater many decades ago, that we could bring them to her to rewatch today. She was not interested in practicing sitting up by herself, and made faces at the idea, so we'll take that as engagement.

Thanks, Rebecca, for visiting on Wednesday with pictures of lace fans from your recent trip to Spain!

Mother also had some nice exchanges with friends and family. She talked with Ken and Yvonne Hill and learned their latest, including the antics of their adopted senior dog. She also Facetimed for a long time with Murray, who lives in Edinburgh with his family and is a cousin once-removed (although I could have that degree of connection completely wrong).

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Journal entry by Joan Shelton

Mom continues on an gentle upward trend, with increased conversational ability and alertness. She had several telephone interactions this weekend - Notably with dear friend Ed Schneider, and family friend Catherine Spillman in Malaysia.

This weekend we also sat her up on the edge of the bed! I think it did wonders for everyone's moral. She said it felt great to be sitting (propped) up, and she said she was not dizzy. We are hoping to continue with this in a gradual and *very* supervised fashion. She is hoping to be able to be out of bed and propped in a wheelchair for Thanksgiving. It's good to have goals!

Although she still does sleep a lot, she seems in good spirits. Alison and I are here on weekends, but if you wanted to call or visit to relieve her boredom during the week, we can try to arrange it.

Mom sends her prayers and love.

Journal entry by Joan Shelton

As you all know, friday was Joan's 86th Birthday. She had a lovely evening with family, a kir royal, and chocolate mousse cake.  Apparently she skipped lunch to save room for cake...

She was also surrounded by all your cards, calls, messages, and flowers and felt very loved.

She sends her love back, and thanks you all.

Also, she now has a DVD player in the Bedroom, so can finally view DVDs! The Wifi connection proved just too squirrelly to be relied for streaming. If you have stopped watching your DVDs, but you still have one or two laying around that you think mother might enjoy, send them along! I am not sure the Player is region free... 

Overall she seems to be doing better. She is engaging in conversations and phone calls. Yesterday she announced that she was bored and would like to get out of bed. Unfortunately she's weak as a kitten, but she did move her left hand several times, and once almost up to her nose!

Although she is very weak, mentally she is in a much better position to talk on the phone, facetime, or talk to visitors. Timing is everything, but we encourage you to try your luck! 

Thanks again for all your kind Birthday wishes!

Journal entry by Joan Shelton

After a quiet month, mom will be celebrating her 86th birthday next Friday, September the 21st! She is doing well, and a bit more talkative. If you wished to send a birthday wish in card form, we will be certain to show it to her. If you'd like arrange a phone call, or even Facetime with her, we can try to schedule a time.

In the meantime we have started receiving pureed food from "Food and Friends", a DC non profit that specializes in providing food to compromised patients in their homes. This has enabled Alison and Eleanor to step back for a breath during the week, although we endeavor to be there over the weekends.  Alison (and Sophia), will be staying at the apartment this weekend. Eleanor will be staying at the apartment next weekend.

But this does mean that if you are trying to reach mom during the week, please note that it may take longer to reach her. Do try to contact one of us, and we will try to hook you up.
Joan’s Story

Site created on May 15, 2018

Welcome to Joan's website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.

Joan had surgery for a brain tumor on April 26. Since then, she's been at George Washington University Hospital, she had a brief stint at Stoddard rehab facility, and then she crossed over Rock Creek Park to Sibley Hospital.  Joan returned to her apartment on Sunday, June 3, and to her beloved cat, Cromartie. Aides are helping her around the clock and her family is close.

She enjoys receiving cards and visits from those of you who are in town. She really enjoys raspberries, and we're happy to de-seed any berry contributions.