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Joan Kersten obit

In loving memory of Joan Marguerite Andersen Kersten, a whimsical soul who lived her final chapter of life near her children in Fresno, California. Joan passed away March 10, 2024, two days after suffering a heart attack while getting ready for afternoon bridge. Joan lived her life fiercely independent and always determined to do it her way.

Born July 24, 1934, in Klamath Falls, Oregon, Joan’s family moved to Oakdale where she was raised and where she married her high school sweetheart Elgin Kersten. Although Joan had dreams of a singing profession, like many of her generation, Joan’s first role in her adult life was that of a stay-at-home mom and homemaker. Soon after marriage, Joan and Elgin had four children, Patrice, Eric, Shaunna, and Andrew who were also raised in Oakdale. When all four children were older, Joan went back to school receiving an AA degree in Nursing from Modesto Junior College in 1966, and later a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Sacramento State. Joan worked as an RN and Nurse Administrator for various health care facilities, Planned Parenthood, the American Cancer Society and was very proud of her education and career.

Joan appreciated all things beautiful. Painting, art, poetry, fashion brought much joy to her life. And after nearly two decades in nursing, the vicissitudes of life found Joan divorced from Elgin, widowed from her second marriage, her children grown, and Joan desiring a radical change in her life. She moved to San Diego and in 1985, she earned a degree from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, where she worked for many years in the artsy world of interior design and had the ocean at her doorstep.

Joan eventually returned to the San Francisco Bay Area and in 2001 she officially retired from nursing and moved to Bozeman, Montana to be near her very young grandchildren. Dubbed “JoJo” by her grandson, she applied herself to her new environment from the get-go: meeting neighbors and learning how to make wild game sausage, joining, and eventually becoming president of Newcomers Club, taking creative writing classes, improving her snow driving skills, and having her grandchildren over for “Soup Night” gave her great happiness. After nearly eight years in Bozeman, JoJo decided that she missed the ocean more than she loved the mountains, and she moved back to Half Moon Bay.

Joan spent the next 16 years in Half Moon Bay, which she fondly called home and where she was a member of the Coastside Women’s Club, made friends dear to her heart, played competitive bridge, wrote poetry, and dreamed by the ocean. She will be remembered for her bright smile, her friendly nature, and her funny sense of humor.

Joan is survived by her four children and their spouses (Patrice & Bill, Eric & Whitney, Shaunna & Bill, Andy & Nancy), seven grandchildren (Joshua Holman, Anisa & Lucas Kersten, Cody & Kersten Haff and Jennifer & Michael Kersten), and seven great-grandchildren. Joan spent her last days surrounded by her children and she will be missed by all. Rest in peace, Joan.

The Oakdale (Calif.) Leader

The Riverbank (Calif.) News

March 27, 2024