Joan Dickinson Pease, 74, nurse and homemaker

August 29, 2004|By Athima Chansanchai | Athima Chansanchai,SUN STAFF

Joan Dickinson Pease, a registered nurse who set aside her career in return for establishing stability for her family through 18 moves in eight states, died from complications from pancreatic cancer Monday at the family's Columbia home. She was 74.

Born Joan Dickinson, she was a native of Cortland, N.Y., and after graduating from high school, she attended a three-year nursing program at Auburn (N.Y.) Memorial Hospital.

She met her future husband, Paul Pease, in high school. The two became reacquainted while Mr. Pease was a student at the State University of New York Maritime College. They married in 1952.

"We recognized a spark in each other," said Mr. Pease. "She was a real soulmate."

A registered nurse, Mrs. Pease became the couple's main breadwinner until her husband graduated in 1953.

The couple began their nomadic life with Mr. Pease's two-year Navy deployment. While the Navy reservist chased Russian submarines, his wife continued to work as a nurse. Mrs. Pease left nursing in 1956 with the birth of their first son.

Mr. Pease's job as a manufacturing materials supervisor with General Electric and other companies resulted in the family moving 18 times in 20 years. They spent much of that time in Cortland, but the family also lived in Virginia, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Ohio and Maryland.

Each time the family moved, Mrs. Pease took care of buying and selling their homes.

"She was an absolute gem," said her husband. "She became very talented in the field of real estate."

Mrs. Pease was the anchor of the family, he said. She instilled in her sons focus and a strong work ethic. Her youngest son, Steven Pease of Freeland, said his mother also had a great sense of humor.

"She was very playful, a very witty person. It was a fun house to grow up in," he said.

The family has called Columbia home for 27 years - the longest they've been in one place. Paul Pease said a job with PricewaterhouseCoopers allowed him to travel while his family stayed put.

When he retired in 1991, Mrs. Pease cared for the elderly as a volunteer for Homecall.

The couple also traded in Mr. Pease's frequent-flyer miles for a trip to England on the Concorde, an experience Mr. Pease described as "unbelievable." They also spent a few months every year in Coronado, Calif., and made several trips to Hawaii.

Services were held Friday.

In addition to her husband and son, she is survived by two other sons, James Pease of Chester, Conn., and Richard Pease of Lafayette, N.J.; and five grandchildren.

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