Joan S. Hester
August 3, 1956 – February 8, 2020
It is with great sadness we share the passing of Joan Stephanie (Schleuder) Hester, age 63, on Saturday, February 8th, at her home on Lake Travis in Austin, Texas, after a brief illness. Joan was born in Anderson, Indiana on August 3rd, 1956, to Don L. Schleuder and the late Mary A. Schleuder.
Joan was very artistic and creative her whole life. She loved to draw, paint, read, write, and sew and used these talents throughout her life and career in various ways. She filled her home with beautiful eclectic works of art and used her creative skills to design her home to reflect her personality. It was featured in Better Homes and Gardens in the mid 1990’s. Joan was also very spiritual and loved being physically active. She combined these two passions with a love of Yoga and earned her certification for Foundations of Yoga Therapy. She was a Kundalini yoga instructor. She loved animals and had her pets around her all her life. She had many friends as well, drawn to her loving, generous nature. It felt good to be touched by the warmth of her spirit and personality.
Joan graduated in 1974 from Highland High School in Anderson, Indiana, where she excelled in extra-curricular activities including, gymnastics, student council, band, and journalism as the editor of the student newspaper the Tartan. She attended Indiana University graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Communication in 1978. She received her Masters’ degree in Journalism and Communication in 1982 from the University of Florida in Gainesville. She worked as a reporter at various newspapers in Indiana and Kentucky before earning her PhD at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1986.
She moved to Austin, Texas shortly after and taught as a professor at the University of Texas. It was there she met the love of her life, the late Phil Hester. They were married in July 1988. In 1992 her son and greatest joy, Will was born. She was very involved in many volunteer and PTA activities during his childhood. As a family, they traveled extensively and enjoyed the ocean and many beautiful beaches on the island of St. John and in Roatan, where they built a home.
Joan’s generous spirit was very evident in her hospitality. One could not help but feel her warmth as she opened her home to her friends and the friends of her son over the years. It was the place to gather for fun, food and friendship. Many memories were made.
Joan will be missed by her many friends and family from all over the country. She is survived by her son, Will Hester, her father, Don L. Schleuder, her brothers, Carl Schleuder (Terri) and John Schleuder (Juliann), her nieces, Hannah Asbrock and Heidi Schleuder, her nephews, Nathan Schleuder, Chris Schleuder, Eric Schleuder and Steve Schleuder, also several cousins, two great-nieces and two great-nephews.
She was preceded in death by her mother, Mary A. Schleuder and her husband, Phillip D. Hester.
A Funeral service for Joan will be held on Thursday, February 13th at 11:00 am at Weed-Corley-Fish, 411 Ranch Rd, 620 South, Lakeway, Texas 78734. An instrumental musical interlude will precede the service beginning at 10:00 am. Please gather at 12 noon for a luncheon onsite at the facility in the Magnolia Room.
- Instrumental Musical Interlude Thursday, February 13, 2020
- Funeral Service Thursday, February 13, 2020
- Luncheon Thursday, February 13, 2020
- Reception Thursday, February 13, 2020
Joan S. Hester
February 16, 2020
Joan was special. That was evident from the love that was shared at the memorial service. Joan touched people, even if she only met them briefly.
Joan was aspirational and inspirational. Joan was always trying to do the right thing, become a “better” Joan. She wanted to be the best person she could be. She inspired others, including me, to do the same. She was the epitome of “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
Joan was empathic and compassionate. She had a strong moral compass. I think that was how we bonded. Our moral compasses aligned. There was trust and there was love for one another.
When people spent time with Joan, she had a magical power of making them feel better about themselves. I was so happy that Joan would be spending a week in Roatan in Oct 2019. I would get to see her again. I was going through my own tough time, and just being with her, talking with her, helped center me.
I will miss her dearly. I am grateful I was able to meet her, and become friends with her. She has enriched many, many people’s lives and will live on in their memories.
Deb Davis Groves
February 13, 2020
One of my favorite memories of your mom and your dad -- was when your dad introduced your mom to the "group" of IBM buddies and wives. We had met a few of his "friends" before...none of whom we got excited about. But when he brought your mom to dinner one night, we all took notice. Your mom was the real deal...she was smart, funny and engaging. I loved her laugh!!! We knew that she was your dad's perfect match...she would keep his feet on the ground, challenge him intellectually and grow him in other ways. The greatest gift they gave each other was you, Will! You brought a different dimension of love and color to their world that they probably never imagined. Your mom never stopped doing such cool things for you and with you! While our paths took many different directions - different companies, states, countries - we never lost sight of the fact that you were their world! And they were beyond proud of YOU!!
Losing your mom at such a young age also...well there just aren't any words that can honestly make any of this better. But I can tell you from experience that as hard as it is now, you will RISE UP! And you will NEVER be alone! Your mom is always there for you as is your dad! Their love for you will always burn bright and be there in the most special of times and in unexpected ways! You have a great community of friends/family who are there for you! Don't hesitate to lean on them when you need them!! But know that Randy and I are just a phone call or email away.
Our hearts are heavy for you! If we can find a "silver lining", I think we hold onto the fact that we are lifted up by the fact that your mom and your dad's LOVE goes on inside of you and all of us lucky enough to have been touched by both of your parents, especially your mom's zest/love of life!!
With heartfelt love and prayers to you,
Deb Davis Groves
February 12, 2020
I just learned of this, and I'm still in shock. Will, your parents were both dear friends, but your mom truly was one of my best friends. I just spoke with her in both November and December. I can't tell you how much I'll miss her. Joan and I were in the doctoral program together at UW. One of my fondest memories there was with her. She and I drove out to a lab in her yellow VW to buy a lab rat. She wanted to do a rat's maze for Byron Reeves' birthday, as I recall. It was freezing cold, and we wanted to stop for dinner, but were afraid to leave the rat in the car because of the cold. So we took it into the restaurant with us and left it in the cloak room under coats (in a small cage, of course). We spent the entire dinner talking about how the restaurant manager would ban us forever if he found out.
February 12, 2020
Joni lead with her heart! I loved her gentle kindness & sweet heart. We were a part of a group of women who loved the ocean. She had a way of explaining things from others perspective. Her gifts were many and our world will greatly miss her!
"Empathy feels these thoughts; your hurt is in my heart, your loss is in my prayers, your sorrow is in my soul & your tears are in my eyes."
February 11, 2020
Whether you knew Joan for her whole life or just met her for a few minutes, you could not help but feel enriched and grateful for the time you got to spend with her.
In life, some people enjoy being observers and others dive headfirst into every challenge, every opportunity and every adventure. Joan epitomized the latter.
Joan loved water. It made no difference to her if she was at the lake in Austin, the beaches at St. John or the reef at Palmetto Bay in Roatan, Joan could always be found in the water. There is a story, often told in Roatan, of Joan’s ritual swim out to the end of the reef and beyond, a distance of well over five hundred yards. The story goes that she undertook this swim so often, and was in such harmony with the sea, that a school of squid would regularly follow her on her journey. Even in nature, Joan made an impact.
It is easy to imagine that Joan is now swimming through the Milky Way and is followed on her journey by the stars.
Joan’s Roatan story is now a legend and will live on forever.
Swim peacefully, dear friend.
February 10, 2020
I First meet Joan about Four years ago. And what I admire most about Her. Was The Sweet Spirit within Her. Her Smile and the Kind Heart She always Had. R.I.P JOAN what a Beautiful Life you Live 👏👏🙏🙏
February 10, 2020
As Joan's band director in Jr. High and High School at Highland Jr./Sr. High School in Anderson, Indiana, I enjoyed teaching her. She was a good musician and a faithful student. My condolences to her family in this time of loss. My the memories Joan left you with be a comfort to you as you grieve your loss.
February 10, 2020
Wonderful young lady...............too soon, too soon. Glad I was able to help a little in the past.