Joan P. Emerson, age 69 of Gainesville, FL passed away in Gainesville on Tuesday, August 28, 2012. Joan was born in Hackensack, New Jersey and graduated from Pascack Valley Regional High School in Hillsdale, New Jersey. She received her AB degree from Cornell University, her Master of Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin, and a Specialist in Education degree from the University of Florida. She was in the process of completing her PhD at the University of Florida. Mrs. Emerson taught English as a Second Language to adults for several years through the Alachua County School Board.
She is survived by her husband Robert D. Emerson, sons David R. (Patty) Emerson of Smyrna, GA and Jeffrey P. (Suzanne) Emerson of San Carlos, CA, and two granddaughters Katherine and Jessica, and was preceded in death by her brother Clifford Petersen.
Joan led an active and fulfilling life, challenging the progression of multiple sclerosis throughout her adult life. She loved her family and was fully involved in nurturing her sons' development from cooperative nursery school to being a den mother to riding her motorized wheel chair in the UF homecoming parade with the Eastside Marching Band with water for the players. She loved languages, learning Russian, Spanish, French, and quickly learning the language of wherever she traveled; and she traveled the world with a true passion. Her spirit refused to accept limitations when others thought that perhaps she should not try some activities as her multiple sclerosis progressed, continually challenging herself with new goals. At various stages of her life, Joan was a chef, painted, sang in choirs, and performed in South Pacific at the Gainesville Little Theater. She was an avid reader and swimmer throughout her life.