Joan Ransom McSunas
April 1, 1933 – June 4, 2019
Joan Ransom McSunas died peacefully at her home on June 4, 2019 with her husband John by her side. Joan was born April 1, 1933 in Racine, Wisconsin. She graduated from Washington Park High School in Racine, and went on to attend the University of Wisconsin in Madison, where she was a member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority. On June 17, 1953 she married her high school sweetheart Jack (who she always called “John”).
After their wedding, the couple left the Midwest and began their peripatetic early married life – first living in Coronado, followed by stops in Newport (Rhode Island), back to Coronado, Philadelphia, Miami, San Juan (Puerto Rico), Racine and a four-year stay in Mexico City. During her years in San Juan and Mexico City, Joan made some of her greatest lifelong friends and was an active presence in the expat community. In the mid-1960s, they moved to Ridgefield, Connecticut, where Joan was less than thrilled with being back in cold weather and snow and she immediately planned a return to a year-round warm weather. In 1971, she succeeded when they moved and settled for good in Corona del Mar, California.
Joan was an active member in the Junior Leagues of Racine, Mexico City and Newport Beach. Her early volunteer activities and training with the Junior League led to a full time position with the Voluntary Action Center in 1975. She soon joined the United Way of Orange County, where she served as Vice President of Fund Distribution until her retirement in 1996. Always keen on civic and community involvement, Joan also served on the Orange County Grand Jury, as a docent and member of the Board of Governors of the Bowers Museum and as lay mediator for legal fee disputes.
She was passionate about traveling and history; and was known for stopping at every historical marker and reading it aloud to her children. She always enjoyed when one of her children moved to a new city or state, as it allowed her to explore the local cuisine, history and landmarks. She and John travelled the world extensively. However, her true happy spot was Hawaii, to which she kept returning; content to be reading a book while watching for whales to pass by and listening to the waves in front of her Lanai. She was an ardent and patient gardener, with a gift of knowing which plants and flowers would look most appealing an inviting and which flora complemented each other – knowledge she generously shared with her children when they each had homes of their own and needed help with landscaping (she would happily spend hours working in their gardens with amazing results).
She is survived by her husband John; sons Andy of Danville, California; Tim of Corona del Mar, California; and Michael of Grosse Pointe, Michigan; daughters-in- law Sherri, Karen and Debbie; grandchildren Michael, Taylor, Blake, Katie, Casey, Ransom and Hadley; and great grandchildren Cooper and Mazie.
In lieu of flowers please donate to the charity of your choice.
A memorial service will be held at the Pavilion at the Regency 24441 Calle Sonora, Laguna Woods CA 92637 on Wednesday, June 26 from 3-5 pm.
Celebration of Life
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
24441 Calle Sonora
Joan Ransom McSunas
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Sabina De Lorenzo
June 10, 2019
We first met Joan when she came to visit Michael in Italy. She was a kind, brilliant lady. Although we haven't seen her for a long time now, she was still always in our thoughts. And always will be.
June 7, 2019
I first met Joan in about 1990. I was a United Way volunteer; Joan was a Vice President at Orange County United Way and staffed the Agency Relations Fund Distribution Committee. She guided the volunteers on the committee in making grants to worthy community based organizations in Orange County. Joan was always cheerful and dedicated to United Way and to the agencies it supported. She taught me how to be a good volunteer and committee member.
I count myself lucky to have known her and to have worked with her until her retirement. She must have impacted and improved thousands of lives in Orange County over her years of service and most of them would not have met her or known of the good that she did. Those who worked with her knew of her dedication, though.
Thank you, Joan.