Story by Nancy Covert
STEILACOOM, WA — More than three dozen white chrysanthemums, each affixed with a glittery star, were placed in a huge vase at Steilacoom’s Town Hall this past Saturday. Seated next to the marble-topped table bearing the vase, was the day’s honoree Joan Curtis.
The flowers and stars, representing a small portion of Joan’s accomplishments during the past 40 years, were presented as a tribute to her. The occasion?
A Tribute to Steilacoom’s “Volunteer Extraordinaire” at Town Hall on a sunny Saturday afternoon, April 12.
Surrounded by a circle of more than 100 friends and relatives, Curtis was recognized for “her many efforts to make her community a better and special place, to educate, to beautify, to improve, to lead, to support, to advise and to preserve.”
After moving to the community in 1968, Joan immersed herself in a variety of town volunteer activities in both the Museum Association and in the Town of Steilacoom, ranging from serving on the Sesquicentennial Celebration Committee, to coordinating and planning a variety of museum association traditions such as Steilacoom Dines Out events, editing and writing the Town on the Sound and the SHMA Quarterly and serving as curator of the Nathaniel Orr Home.
Included among her numerous honors and awards are: Steilacoom’s Distinguished Service Award, Who’s Who in the West, The Washington State Historic Preservation Officer’s Award for Outstanding Career Achievement in Historic Preservation, the SHMA Merrill Award for Service and as the community’s Citizen of the Year.
Joan’s interests are “far ranging, her energy constant, and her skills varied. A love of history and for the town where she has made her home, a talent for journalism, an interest in education and an ever-inquiring mind have directed her many pursuits.
“Few people make such an impact on their communities and fields of interest, and Joan is one of those people. Steilacoom is fortunate to have her, and we all are delighted to know her,” said Marianne Bull, in her introductory remarks.
Steilacoom Mayor Ron Lucas presented Joan with an engraved plaque as a tribute to her service, and SHMA president Joan Shalikashvili presented her with a photograph of Fairview, the Curtis’ home above the Sound.
“What a great party,” Joan exclaimed. “You all gave up the first real day of spring to be here!”
Those presenting the “Bouquet of Service” included Jone Borhek, Lou Dunkin, Jenny Hollister, Sue Davidson, Dave Welch, and Alice Watson.
“What I like best about spending time with grandma,” added Joan’s granddaughter, Cassie,” “is spending time at the museum!”