Joan Barbara Elhart, born April 6, 1932, died Friday, March 7, 2014. She had aged 81 years. She died peacefully in the loving care of Country Life Assisted Living in Clancy. Our thanks to this wonderful facility, the staff and all the people that serve in ministry through the assisted living and nursing professions.

Joan was born in Denver. Her parents were Denton D. Dodge and Ruby Marie Dodge (Sundquist/Dahl). She graduated from East High, Denver, in 1948. She graduated a year early by studying ahead, so she could graduate at the same time as her future husband, Donald L. Elhart, who was a year older.

On March 10, 1951, she married her love and partner for life, Donald L. Elhart. She was 19, and he was 20. This union was blessed with three children — Linda Gail Bosley (Jim); Rick Donn Elhart (Susan) and Steven Mark Elhart (Sunnie). Don and Joan share six grandchildren: Heather Marie Muhonen (Tim), James Ryan Bosley (Denisse), Kate Susan Joyce (Jerem), Penny Joan Leslie (Nick), Thomas Lee Elhart and Lindsey Jo Elhart. They also share three great-grandchildren: Olivia Muhonen, Aubrie Muhonen and Rian Muhonen.

Joan B. Elhart was a committed wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. She was wonderful with little people and grandchildren. She was goofy and fun. She had great love for them. She provided great guidance to her children and grandchildren in their early years but was not the coach, but the dependent one as they turned 14 and older. Her heart was always there but she struggled with a minor mental illness that particularly challenged her and her family in her later years.

A fear of authority, a fear of physicians and a sense of foreboding rode with her, especially though her years starting in her 40s and through her final days. One way she coped was by trying to control those close to her. There was harm from this, especially to her dear and loyal husband, Don, who demonstrated the patience of Job as he continued as a true and loyal husband.

Not always is great wisdom and strength there from our elders. In them sometimes we must recognize that they, too, are children of God and are working their way through. Mom helped us and others at this time, however, by sharing this part of her story. Our elders are not perfect, and we cannot expect this from them. Two things we learn from our parents and elders in this life. The things they do well — and in that we can endeavor to emulate — and the things they do not do well – and in that we can endeavor to do better. In fact, we have the chance to springboard away from pain to incredible strength. In Mom, we had the opportunity to do both.

One tremendous strength Joan possessed was her undying love and commitment to her family. She truly loved all of us with all her heart. She also prayed for each of us continuously all through the day and night. We will miss the strength of those prayers. But in that, we can each endeavor to emulate and to replace those prayers through increasing our prayers for one another. Family can be the greatest strength to each of us, only to be surpassed by the love and guidance of Jesus Christ.

We now begin a new chapter. Don and Joan’s children — Linda, Rick and Steve — are the new matriarch and patriarchs. The grandchildren — Heather, James, Kate, Penny, Thomas and Lindsey — step up a notch as full adults with all the privileges and expectations of maturity, strength and leadership. Good news! We are all ready! Don and Joan, you did well! The legacy you have created represents you well. We are collectively so blessed.

Now until we see you again. Mom, Grandma, Great-grandma, friend, rest in peace!

O Lord, support us all the day long of this troubled life, until the shadows lengthen and the evening comes and the busy world is hushed, the fever of life is over, and our work is done. Then, Lord, in your mercy grant us a safe lodging, and a holy rest, and peace at the last; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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