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Joan T Sessions

May 11, 1930 ~ December 18, 2023 (age 93) 93 Years Old

Joan Sessions Obituary

Joan Sessions, aged 93, passed away peacefully on December 18, 2023, at her home at Plymouth Place in LaGrange Park.  

Joan, who was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, grew up nurtured by a love of music, fueled by her experience at concerts of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and of the mountains surrounding her home.  She was an accomplished trumpet player, an avid skier and eventually transferred her love of nature to the waters of Lake Erie by mastering sailing on her beloved sailboat. 

Joan’s more than 50-year career as an educator, was primarily devoted to working in underserved communities:  she was a teacher and elementary school principal in low-income urban settings and served as the director of an early Head Start program.  After earning a doctorate in educational testing and measurement at Kent State University, she joined the Center for Human Services in Cleveland, Ohio, where she held an executive position for more than a decade.  Later in life she was employed by a University of Chicago school improvement effort managing reading tutors at Southside Chicago elementary schools.  And she served as adjunct faculty at Loyola University of Chicago, helping to educate the next generation of teachers.

Her adventurous spirit and commitment as an educator also led her to Beijing, China in the early 1990’s as part of the United Nations Development Program and later as a visiting expert posted to a Chinese government publication, where she spent five years teaching, learning to speak Mandarin Chinese and building relationships with Chinese and Western diplomats. Joan made lifelong friends through her work in China and shared her love of the Chinese cultural art with her family and friends. 

Church life was also always an important priority for Joan.  She served as a deacon at the Fairmount Presbyterian Church in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, was a member of the Peacemakers group and a Steven Minister at Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago and was later a member of Grace Lutheran Church in LaGrange, Illinois.  She vigorously championed her belief in fairness and spiritual equality in her words and actions. 

Joan was also a loving sister, mother, aunt, grandmother, and great grandmother.  She was preceded in death by her ex-husband, Frank H. Sessions.  She is survived by her two daughters, Linda Hadley (John), Gina Sessions Young (Bob), three grandchildren, three great grandchildren; her sister Rosemary Ganis, two nephews and six grand nephews and nieces.

A memorial service has been canceled due to the weather, it will be rescheduled weather permitting.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Doctors without Borders or the Art Institute of Chicago.


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