Joan Jellison

May 6, 1930 ~ November 1, 2022 (age 92)


Joan passed away on November 1, 2022 in Kalispell.
She was born in Spokane, WA on May 6, 1930 as the only child of Ken and Marie Hardin. She grew up attending 21 different grade schools as the family moved across Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana. Stability came after the war when the family settled in Missoula and Joan attended Sacred Heart Academy and the University of Montana studying English and Drama.
It was at the University Drama department where she honed her acting skills and met husband of 68 years, Dean Jellison. After Dean graduated from law school they moved to Dayton Ohio while he served at Wright Patterson Air Force base. Her love of the theater led to her starting the Paige Manor Players where she directed by the Spirit among other plays and continued a post grad course in Drama at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, OH. Joan and Dean returned to Kalispell in 1956. In 1961 she appeared in the Bigfork Summer Playhouse production of Separate Tables and eagerly became involved in the early 1970’s when FVCC started their Drama department under Ron Danko. She appeared in several plays including The Glass Menagerie, directed Children’s Theater and culminated with Speakers Theater production of Spoon River Anthology which toured several Montana campuses.
Joan was actively involved in the community serving as a Hospital Volunteer for over 35 years, a Kalispell Police Commissioner for 37 years, a volunteer with the Rape Crisis Line, and served on the first Hospice Board for Flathead County. She was active in Republican politics and was Precinct Committeewomen for too many years to count, she served on the Republican Central Committee and maintained “The List” for the local party for many years. Joan was a devout Catholic and attended St Matthew’s Catholic Church since 1956. She enjoyed serving as a Lector for many years.
Joan had a healthy fear of flying until the opportunity to travel was too strong to resist and she had to overcome it. She traveled extensively in the US and visited England, Scotland, Ireland, and France. In the early 60’s Joan and Dean joined with neighbors to form a Foreign Dinner Club with twice yearly menu’s from across the globe. This group continued through retirement and expanded to annual visits to cities across the US to enjoy adventure and cuisine
She loved animals and over her lifetime provided homes for many pets some of whom adopted her when they needed her most.
Joan and Dean raised three daughters, Pamela (Clark) Cummings, Loveland, CO, Elizabeth Smith, Lakeside, MT, and Paula Jellison formerly of Seattle, WA.
Joan was preceded in death by her daughter Paula Jean Jellison and husband, M. Dean Jellison. Joan is survived by daughters Elizabeth Smith and Pamela Cummings, three grandchildren, Matthew (Lysa) Smith, Chaille (Shawn) Hymes, and JD (Rachel) Cummings, and seven great grandchildren. She is also survived by cousin Gary Delaney of Chaska, MN. and local In-Laws Bruce (Betty) Jellison and Gene (Carol) Jellison.
All are invited to share memories or a message about Joan in the tributes.

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Conrad Memorial Cemetery
P.O.Box 822
Kalispell, MT 59901

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