Joan Miriam True

(Joan Brown)


Grandma Joan left her “magical body” on January 24th 2006, a body which quite literally seemed to have 9 lives because of her miraculous recoveries and impressive resilience.


Born May 17, 1940 in Portland Oregon, she is the loving daughter of George and Loraine Irwin.  She inherited her illuminating smile and beauty from her mother and her stoic, patient gentleness from her father.  She so appreciated her happy childhood and her loving parents. 


Survivor of Polio as a child, Joan had a strong and positive way of looking at life’s challenges. Although she walked on crutches since age eight she never let them slow her down and walked through life with an unmatched confidence.  A friend recently said: “when she walked into a room no one would see her crutches, all they saw was her bright smile – she would just light up the room”


Joan was the Homecoming Queen in 1962 and an active student. She graduated from Oregon College of Education in Monmouth, Oregon in 1963 and went on to teach Elementary school in Salem, Oregon.


Joan was married to Jerry Brown in 1963. They moved to Bainbridge Island in 1970. They were married for 12 years.  Although she would love again, she would never remarry.


Mother to her only daughter, Melissa, she taught her daughter how to be a strong, independent woman and a true friend.  She showed her the importance of loving life and the gift of a warm smile.


“Grandma Joan” loved children – all children, but her life and her heart were especially filled by her three grandboys: Tommy Gunn (16), Travis Gunn (12) and Troy Gunn just one year old.  She taught the boys imagination and fantasy and always had time to just sit and be with them.


Joan was the successful business owner and operator of Bainbridge Answering Service / The Office Works for over 20 years. Well known as Joan Brown, Joanie or “Joan the Phone”, she was an active member of the business community on the island.  She was a member of the Chamber of Commerce, the 4th of July committee - and even took a run for Mayor.   Joan was a reliable fixture of the social community both in the coffee houses and night life.  She was easily recognized in her Red 1976 Pacer X.  She touched countless people with her magnetic personality, warmth and friendliness.


A talented and accomplished artist in her retirement, she is a respected member of The Colored Pencil Society and leaves the world with a number of colored pencil paintings to enjoy and remember her by.


Joan will forever be remembered by her Mother Lorraine Irwin of Roseburg, Oregon, Sister Trudy Walker also of Roseburg and Perry Ann Porter-Brown of Poulsbo. Her daughters family, Melissa and Dan Gunn and their children of Everett, Washington as well as many other cherished family members and countless friends lives will forever be touched by knowing her.


Her courage and grace in life as well as in death is inspirational!





Joan’s “Last Wish” is to have her art shown in a gallery
Bainbridge Island:

“Bainbridge was my home, I lived there as a business woman and I want to return there as an Artist”.

Joan has asked her family to “send my art out into the world”.  That is what we are trying to do here with her web site, public showings and offering high quality reproductions for sale.

Thank you for your interest and support – Joan lives on in our hearts, memories and through the art work she created.


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