Joan Coart Gorow

Joan GorowJoan Coart Gorow passed away October 22nd in her Issaquah home surrounded by her loving family.  She was born July 29, 1937 in Seattle, WA.  Joan was a remarkable woman who fought Multiple Sclerosis since 1964.  She was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease about 11 years ago, and successfully beat breast cancer; being cancer free for 10 years.  Even with these terrible diseases she never complained, and remained a tower of strength to her family and friends.

Joan was a 1959 graduate of Washington State College, and a proud member of Pi Beta Phi sorority, serving one year as president.  Over the years, the relationship she had with her sorority sisters was very important to her.  While at WSC (now WSU) Joan was also a member of the Panhellenic board; Phi Chi Theta, the women’s business honorary; Women’s Recreation Association; and Fish Fans, the synchronized swimming group.

While living in Bellevue, Joan was a campfire leader and was very active in the Pi Beta Phi alum club.  After moving to Gig Harbor she became a docent at the Point Defiance Zoo.  Joan had a passion for animals.  She also volunteered time in the schools.

Joan was a tremendous support to her loving husband John, the first principal of Gig Harbor High School.  During those first years of the school, she was always one of the first to volunteer for the many necessary tasks.  Her support and good nature made her a favorite of the staff.  As one of the original staff recently commented, “We looked upon Joan as our ‘god mother.'”Joan Gorow

Joan loved to play golf, one of the things she truly missed after MS made it difficult for her to continue playing.  She was an active member of the Gig Harbor Golf Club and served as its secretary for several years.  The golf trips she and John took with Gig Harbor friends provided them with special memories.

Joan loved the outdoors which included a fondness for gardening.  Other interests of Joan included travel.  She had a special fondness for the island of Kauai where she and John spent many wonderful days.   After retirement they took trips to several countries throughout the world.

Family was important to Joan.  Her beloved daughter, Julie Siefkes (Doug) of Sammamish, was so dear to her.  Julie stood by her mother during her fight over the last many years, providing the love needed for Joan’s battle against the diseases that tried to control her.  Her stepchildren; Kathy Paurus (Mike) of Dayton, MN, Mark Gorow (Kiki) of Bothell, and Michele Houston (Dan) of Tacoma, and their families, were also important to her.  They were honored to be with Joan at the end of her life.  All these families have blended together into one loving group.

Joan’s eight grandchildren – Ryan, Erica, and Claire Siefkes; Felicia and Zoe Gorow; Lydia, Lauren, and James Houston – brought much joy into her life.  She loved to attend the activities they participated in.  She was so proud of all of them.  They have learned to overcome obstacles, much as their grandmother did.

Joan GorowThere was a unique bond between Joan and her brother John Coart of Clyde Hill.  They loved to talk about their growing up years, especially the summers spent at Pipe Lake in Maple Valley, WA.  John’s family: wife Kathie; daughters Karin Coart and Kristin Blake (Braden); along with Kristin’s son, Coartney, have always held Joan close to their hearts.

John, Julie, and other members of the family express their thanks to all those who have supported them and Joan during these last few months of Joan’s life.  Special recognition goes to the Group Health home care and hospice teams who provided important care for Joan and the family.  We also thank the caregivers who have helped with Joan’s care, especially Jayme Klein who showed so much love to Joan over the past several years.

A celebration of Joan’s life will be held at 3:00 PM Sunday, November 20 at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church, 2650 148th Ave SE, Bellevue.   We encourage wearing blue, Joan’s favorite color.  In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made in her memory to:
Gig Harbor Tides Scholarship Foundation
Joan and John Gorow Scholarship
PO Box 2674
Gig Harbor, WA 98335

20 Responses to “Joan Coart Gorow”

  • Mary Fassio says:

    What a gracious and courageous woman! I love the photos! Our thoughts and prayers (and offers of help) are with you. Lots of hugs.

  • Janie Redick says:

    Joan was one of the sweetest and kindest persons I have ever known. She fought a courageous battle for many years. My love goes out to all of her family. She will be dearly missed.

  • Tekla Ellingsen says:

    Joan was my best friend from fourth grade on. We had so many fun times together through all the years. Ping Pong after school,swimming at the lake. LLL at Lincoln and Spurs at WSC(U). Joan’s spirit was an inspiration to all of us. I know how much she appreciated all her wonderful family. Much love from Tekla

  • RoseLeah Swalander says:

    My Sister-in-law Joan was a special person in my life and family we had many great memories,admired Joan with work you did for everything and everybody,you just keep going giving you love to all of us.

  • Carol Lee Powell Davis says:

    Summer walks along Lake Lucerne and Pipe Lake were always fun as there was a stop at the Gorrow’s and Court’s cabins. Joan was always happy and very thankful. She loved having meals out on their dock with family. Joan and John attended The Old Timers Picnic and also, 7/18/2015, at Concert on the Lake.

  • Leanne Wood Colwell says:

    I particularly remember Joan from our carefree Pi Phi days at WSU. She was sweet, adorable, smart … and very much loved. What burdens she has carried while enriching our planet with the gifts of her loving spirit! Rest in peace, dear Joan … Your memory will be cherished for a long, long time.

  • Edie Dixon says:

    It has been a long time since I had seen Joan , but I thought she was one of the sweetest kindest ladies I ever met.
    Joan would occasionally come to the Juanita High school staff functions with her husband, a beautiful lady in and out.
    May she Rest In Peace.


  • Syrena Gorow says:

    My Aunt wad a special woman that my Uncle John loved very much.. I want to extend my love and condolences to my Uncle John and Aunt Joan’s family, friends, and loved ones..

  • Barbara Daum says:

    It’s hard to write a tribute to Joan without drawing tears. It’s hard to write a tribute to Joan when there is so much to say. I have known Joan, brother John, their parents, more recently John G, going back nearly 70 years. Losing Joan is like losing a beloved sister. She was very special, and I shall miss her forever more.

  • Ruth Davis Tedder says:

    I am saddened by your loss, and send sincere condolences.

  • Gayle Hammermaster says:

    Precious memories of Joan were dinners our group of 4 PHS couples enjoyed several times each year. Best of all was the dinner at Pipe Lake cabin. The trips to WSU basketball games with Joan and John and Jan and Doug Jonas, devoted Cougs all, will be remembered with loving tenderness.

    Our condolences.
    Rich and Gayle Hammermaster

  • Gary and Rosalie Williamson says:

    We have wonderful memories of Joan. We worked with her in the Peninsula School District. We enjoyed yearly visits to Pipe Lake with all us old folks swimming and playing on the inflatable rafts, having dinner and a few libations. She was a wonderful hostess. We enjoyed our golfing trips in Hawaii, WA. Oregon and Arizona and loved our trip to Mexico where we learned to GeoCache together. Joan was an inspiration to us all. “When life gets tough let’s do some fun events to make us happy.” Our condolences to the family and Joan’s wonderful husband, John.

  • Mayfield Family says:

    We have such fond memories of Joan and John both. Our hearts go out to the family at this time, all our love…

  • Carol Reynolds Barker and Brian Barker says:

    I have fond memories of Joan when we were at Lincoln High. She was a very sweet, kind, caring, upbeat person and always willing to be helpful.

    It was special to see Joan again when our husbands traveled in education/principal circles.

    John and family, Brian and I are so sorry for your loss. May your hearts be warmed with the memory of Joan’s love for you.

  • Judy Greenup Hawkes says:

    I’ve know Joan since our college days in the Pi Phi house. I was privileged to room with her for a semester our junior year just after she was elected president of the house. I got to know directly what a truly thoughtful, considerate person Joan was. All through the years, as Joan suffered setbacks and illnesses, I can’t remember her ever complaining. She had a truly sweet nature, and I am so sorry for her loss.

    John, Julie, my thoughts are with you and all your families.

  • Judy Greenup Hawkes says:

    I’ve know Joan since we were in the Pi Phi house together. I had the privilege of rooming with her our junior year right after she was voted president. I learned what a truly thoughtful, caring person she was. Through the years, as Joan suffered her setbacks and illness, I never heard Joan complain. She was a remarkable woman had a truly sweet nature, and I grieve for her loss.

  • Teresa Salvione says:

    Gracious and courageous are also the words I would choose. An amazing mother and role model, she certainly passed on her large heart for community service to her family! Sending love and condolences to Julie, John and the whole family. Rest In Peace after a life with much meaning!

  • Doug and Jan Jonas says:

    Joan was a jewel of a person inside and out. We feel very honored to have known her. We very much miss her and will treasure our memories.

    Doug and Jan Jonas

  • Annemarie Mainwaring Sandhu says:

    John, and Julie and Family….what an amazing woman to have in all of your lives. Fierce, fun, and full of love. Clearly her strength, her love of family, friends and community will always be an example of how to live a blessed life. We send lots of love for all of you and deep respect for your Mom. She has been living a hard working and truly gracious life, surrounded by her beloved John and her family. Thank you for sharing her stories….
    Annemarie and Jas

  • Joanni Scott says:

    Joan’s service today was beautiful. The tributes by so many who loved her were touching and inspirational. She will be dearly missed, but it’s obvious that the memory of her precious smile and sincere support of others will live on in the hearts of many forever.

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