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Joan Marie Stuart


Joan Marie (Stuart) Mithelman passed away peacefully on Dec. 7, 2017, in Eugene, Ore., at the age of 84.
Joan was born Jan. 5, 1933, to Arthur and Marie Stuart in Bellevue, Iowa. Joan married Keith Mithelman on Feb. 21, 1954, at the Little Brown Church in the Vale in Nashua, Iowa, eventually settling in Norway, Iowa, a small town of 550, to farm and teach. She enjoyed Norway, and especially all the friends she had there.
Joan was a highly successful kindergarten teacher for 27 years, in some cases teaching three generations of the same family. When asked by Reader's Digest for the September 1995 article, "Help Your Child Excel Top Teachers Tell How," Joan stated that, "Doing chores makes kids better students. It teaches them to see tasks through and to value their own position in the family, classroom, and community."
Joan and Keith were very involved in the United Methodist Church and with Heifer International, which provides assistance to and greater self-reliance for families and communities by providing livestock and training. She and Keith traveled to states in the midwest and south to train and raise awareness of Heifer International's work.
Joan received her Bachelor of Special Studies in elementary education from Cornell College, Mount Vernon, Iowa, in 1981.
Joan enjoyed coming to Eugene, Ore., to be nearer to her daughters and grandchildren and new friends at the Solvang Retirement Center, though she very much missed her friends in Norway. She enjoyed trips to wineries, eating out, concerts and time spent with her daughters, grandchildren and their families.
Joan was a positive individual who didn't let a stroke or the colon cancer that eventually took her life stop her from finding the good and raising the self-esteem of those she met. She truly was an indomitable spirit, providing joy to the world.
She is survived by her children, Carol Robe (Joel), Connie McCracken (Michael) and Christy Mithelman; and grandchildren, Brian Robe, Adam Robe (Amy), Sean Mithelman and Christina Mithelman.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Keith Mithelman; and parents, Art and Marie Stuart.
A memorial will take place June 16 at 2 p.m. in Norway at the United Methodist Church, 213 Washington St.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to Heifer International at Heifer International, 1 World Ave., Little Rock, AR 72202 or online at www.heifer.org.
The family would like to thank staff at the Pete Moore Hospice House in Eugene for taking care of Joan the last two months of her life. What a magnificent facility but, more importantly, fantastic caring people. We would also like to thank staff and residents at Solvang Retirement Center for welcoming, taking care of and befriending Joan and Keith.