Traverse City Record-Eagle


July 11, 2013

Joanne Elizabeth Douglass

FRANKFORT — Joanne Elizabeth (Johnson) Douglass, a Frankfort resident since 1991, died on March 17, 2013, in Muncie, Ind., surrounded by her family and listening to Joni Mitchell. She was 84.

Joanne was born in 1928 in Syracuse, N.Y., as the only child of Abbott Livingston Johnson II and Elizabeth “Betty” Gregory Johnson. She spent most of her childhood in Muncie, Ind., growing up in the Westwood home her parents built.

In 1945 she graduated from Muncie’s Burris High School, where she worked on the yearbook and played volleyball. She attended Wellesley College in Massachusetts, graduating in 1949 with a major in history.

She moved to New York City and became a copywriter for Harper’s Bazaar and an avid fan of the Big Apple and its many cultural offerings.

She wed James Noyes Douglass in Muncie in 1956, and they started a family in a tiny apartment in New York’s Greenwich Village. The family moved to Muncie in 1962. Joanne and Jim were married for more than two decades, and after their divorce the pair remained close and reunited for family events until Jim’s death in 1985.

In addition to her family duties, Joanne occasionally wrote freelance articles, was a member of Women in Communications and Psi Iota Xi, a Cub Scout Den Mother and volunteered for Meals on Wheels, the Bargain Box and various political campaigns. She was on the “Central Committee” that launched Muncie’s public television station, WIPB, in 1971.

She played tennis and golf, read voraciously and easily established lasting friendships in diverse circles.

Joanne took courses in photography and delved deeply into literature – especially the work of William Faulkner and T.S. Eliot.

She earned a master’s degree in English from Muncie’s Ball State University in 1983, and taught English courses there as a graduate assistant. Later she took up residence in Frankfort and Phoenix, Ariz.

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