Joan Claire Rio

Joan Claire Rio

The ceremony of celebration for the life of Joan Claire Rio will be held at 2:00 p.m. Friday, November 2, 2007 at the Litwiller - Simonsen Funeral Home, Ashland. A reception will follow at the Rio home, 570 Taylor Street, Ashland.

Mrs. Rio, 83, passed away Tuesday, October 23, 2007 at home. Joan was born March 31, 1924 in Sacramento, Calif. to William and Marjorie Lowney. Within a month the family moved to San Francisco where she lived until the age of 12. At that time her mother passed away and she and her brother, Rodger, moved to Butte, Montana to live with her aunt.

After high school, Joan entered the nursing program at Carroll College in Helena, Montana. She completed her residency training at St. James Hospital in Butte graduating as a Registered Nurse in 1945. In 1950, in Spokane, Washington, she met and married Sheldon Rio. They had two children, a daughter, Marjorie (deceased), and a son, Rodger.

Highlights of Joan's nursing career included serving as head nurse at the Shelby Hospital, Shelby, Montana; establishment and director of the first student health center at Pacific University, and Director of Nursing Services at Ashland Community Hospital for 14 years. She closed out her career as a nurse at Southern Oregon Family Practice.

Joan was interested in travel and in opera. She made numerous trips throughout the USA, Europe and Asia. Her fondest memories were of trips to Ireland, her heritage homeland, and to Northern Italy. She managed to attend opera in the major opera houses of USA and Europe, including San Francisco, Chicago, Sarasota, Sante Fe, LA, Vienna, Munich, Hamburg, Paris, Prague, Moscow, and St. Petersburg.

The arts, bridge playing, reading, and gourmet cooking were her favorite pastimes. She was a Tudor Guild volunteer of the OSF for over 30 years, often serving as a Board member and chairing various committees. She had been awarded Honored Life Member status by the Guild. Joan was instrumental in establishing the volunteer usher program for the Oregon Cabaret Theater which she participated in for many years. She also volunteered as a nurse in programs such as immunization projects for migrant workers and Red Cross Blood banks.

Joan is survived by her husband, Sheldon; her son, Rodger; four grandchildren, Sean Rio, Christie Rio, Brooks Reffstrup and Aleks Reffstrup; and one great-grandson, Gavin Reffstrup. Her father, mother, brother, Rodger, and daughter, Marjorie preceded her in death.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggest that donations may be made in Joan's memory to either the Ashland Community Hospital Hospice program or the Sheldon & Joan Rio Scholarship Fund of the Southern Oregon University Foundation.

Arrangements: Litwiller - Simonsen Funeral Home, Ashland.

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