Gloria Quan Joe, 68, a longtime Payson resident and educator, died Nov. 20, 2008.
A beloved wife, mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, friend and colleague, Mrs. Joe was an inspiration to everyone who met her, as well as countless numbers of students.
She began her science teaching career in Los Angeles, Calif. in the early 1960s and continued to introduce learners to the wonders of science for more than 30 years.
Her passion for education and her belief in every child permeated her life. She established the Payson Parent Teacher Organization in the late 1970s, served as president of the Arizona Science Teachers Association in 1997-98, and received numerous awards for her teaching.
One of her proudest achievements was being selected as one of 36 honorees of the Disney American Teacher Awards in 1990.
After her retirement from Rim Country Middle School in 2004, Mrs. Joe continued to advocate for excellence in science teaching by sharing her wisdom, and even her materials with other teachers.
She was born Sept. 13, 1940 in Los Angeles, Calif., to Eugene and Toy Seung Quan, who had just emigrated from China. She spent her childhood in Los Angeles and attended Manual Arts High School, where she was active in student government and a member of several clubs. She earned her undergraduate degree in zoology with teaching certification from the University of California - Los Angeles. During her time at UCLA, she met a young man, Victor Joe, at church, and discovered that both of them had grown up around the block from each other. They were married Aug. 3, 1963 at St. Mark’s Methodist Church in Los Angeles.
Together, they shared a life of service to Christ and raised two wonderful children, Michael and Wendy.
Mrs. Joe was passionate about her family. She always looked forward to attending annual Quan family reunions. These gatherings were not typical family meetings. They always included a wide variety of amusing competitions like the Quan Family Olympics, the Amazing Quan Race, and Who Wants to Be a Quanionnaire.
In her retirement years, she avidly supported the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Phoenix Suns.
She was proud of her extensive bobble-head collection and looked forward to attending D-backs games every season.
She also collected more than 100 nativity scenes, which were spread all over the house during the Christmas season.
She loved to travel and enjoyed taking her kids to Disneyland every year. Later in life, she even took her granddaughters to the Magic Kingdom.
Those who knew Mrs. Joe will always remember her as one of the most selfless, caring, optimistic, generous, loving and forgiving people. She had a gift for seeking out those who needed a home to share a holiday meal, or a place to be welcomed and loved for who they were.
In spite of all the challenges that she faced in her life, she maintained her faith, her hope, and made those around her feel that anything was possible. She was grateful for everything that life brought and was content to make memories with her family. She treasured all the moments spent with her granddaughters, Maddie and Sydney.
She is survived by her husband, Victor; son, Michael (Desiree) of Phoenix; daughter, Wendy Pederson (Brian) of Vancouver, Wash.; two granddaughters, Maddie Joe and Sydney Pederson; sisters, Jeanette Lee of Palo Alto, Calif. and Valerie Miyashiro of Pleasanton, Calif.; and brother, Norman Quan of Palos Verdes Peninsula, Calif. In addition, she is survived by a large extended family of nieces, nephews and cousins.
There will be a viewing from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 25 at Messinger Payson Funeral Home.
In addition, her family invites everyone who knew and loved her to a Celebration of Life Memorial at Rim Country Middle School at 2:30 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 14.