Joan V. Strong
Las Cruces, N.M. — Joan “Joni" Virginia Strong, formerly of Thomaston and Waterville, died at her home in Las Cruces, N.M. Monday, Sept. 2, 2013, after a courageous battle with cancer.
She was born Aug. 7, 1937, in Rockland. Having lived her early childhood in Thomaston, she graduated from Waterville High School. She received her associate's degree from Mount Ida College in 1957 in Newton, Mass. Upon graduation, she was hired by American Airlines and served the airline and the flying public as a flight attendant for 40 years. Joni was often remembered for “monkeying around” on flights entertaining passengers with her monkey dummy, Dudley. While employed with AA, she volunteered to fly Military Airlift Command flights from 1970 to 1973, taking warfighters to the Vietnam battlefield and bringing whole and maimed soldiers home to the U.S. Joni received many employee awards for her service to the public as well as several from the city of San Diego, where she lived for many years while flying with AA. In 1994, she had an entire 19-page chapter devoted to her stellar form of service to the public in the book “The Real Heroes of Business, and Not A CEO Among Them.”
In her retirement, she joined the Retired Senior Volunteer Patrol in the Scripps Mesa area. RSVP assists the police department in a variety of ways; e.g., performing vacation house checks, making You Are Not Alone visits to the elderly and shut-ins, assisting in harbor patrols. etc.
She is survived by her brothers, Bruce W. Strong of Chester, Md., and Richard W. Strong and his wife Nancy, of Rockport. She is also survived by a niece, three nephews, four grand-nieces, three grand-nephews and many, many friends.
Joni is interred at La Paz-Graham’s Funeral Home Cremation Garden in Las Cruces. In lieu of flowers, Joni would appreciate a donation to her favorite non-profit: Safe Haven Animal Shelter, a no-kill sanctuary for dogs and cats, 840 El Paseo Road, Suite D, Las Cruces, NM 88001.