Joan Marie Luce

October 5, 1938 –
May 5, 2018
Longtime Resident of Libby, Mont. Recent resident of San Jose, Calif.

Joan Luce, a brilliant mind and determined spirit known for her outgoing personality and strength, died at the age of 79 at O’Connor Hospital in San Jose after developing sepsis and respiratory complications. She was an artist, a storyteller, and a great cook. She learned how to fly a plane when she was just a young girl. Her passion to learn adventurous and new pursuits is what made Joan’s life incredible and joyous. While living in Boise, Idaho in her 30s, she owned a do-it-yourself framing shop where she taught people how to frame their artworks. She also displayed artwork of local talented friends and artists there. She loved stained glass and taught herself how to make beautiful pieces of glasswork and had a keen eye for beautiful art. She went back to school to obtain a degree in Marine Biology, another passion of hers, from Hayward State University and dreamed of going to Antarctica to do dolphin research and to work with penguins, which was her favorite animal and is reflected in the large assorted collection of penguin themed items she had amassed over decades. Her desire to study creatures of the ocean led her to participate in abalone feeding research in Carmel, California, where her preoccupation of working in and by the sea had been a dream that became reality. She later had many different opportunities in her work experience that involved working for the California government to be an inspector at CHP checkpoints during the medfly invasions. Her inspection experience led her to slightly unusual but important health code review in where, as she referred to it, inspected “chicken butts.”
Other experiences in the work field allowed her to work with a construction crew to learn how to build houses from the ground up and even working at a fish hatchery – in the tanks. She educated herself constantly working many facets of the medical field from pharmacy lab work, to passing the MCAT exam to earn qualifications to become a doctor at the age of 50, and eventually retiring as a medical transcriptionist before moving to Libby, Mont. where she lived by herself for 15 years. Just prior to her move, she had been experiencing failing eyesight due to a rare infection of histioplasmosis, and enrolled herself into the Berkeley School For The Blind to learn how to be independent as a blind person. She was married and divorced twice and left behind four children, ten grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren. She loved them all and is missed dearly by all of them. She loved her Libby family of friends and lived there longer than anywhere in her lifetime. The care and attention she received from her Libby friends is the reason she lived as long as she did. She is survived by daughters Laura Luce, Holly Passarelli, sons Doug Luce and Greg Luce, grandchildren Summer, Erin, Danielle, Jeremy, Tara, Noah, Bailey, Santiago, Ariana and great-grandchildren Nylen, Nicholai, Neamiah, Oliver and Aribella.
She was cremated by the Neptune Society in San Jose, Calif. as per her wish on May 17, 2018 for which services are pending. There will be a celebration of her life held by her friends in Libby, Mont. at the Lincoln County Veteran’s Memorial Pavillion on June 7, 2018 at 6 p.m.