Joan was my big sister and she played the part perfectly. She was a great role model, she took care of me and I know she loved me.

She was a girl scout. Whatever Joan did, she did the best she could, which was frequently better and always more thorough than anyone else; so, as a girl scout, she got all the badges and always won the award for selling the most cookies. Of course, I always won the award for eating the most cookies!

In high school, she learned how to sew, made and wore many of her clothes and won an award from the Singer Sewing Machine Co. for making the best suit. At last report, it was still in her closet.

She was smart..straight A's, Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude kind of smart. She also had lots of common sense and seemed to know the right answer to ANY question. She had a great memory, although she didn't remember crying every time she had to practice the piano (something we recently discussed).

She ate right, drank wine with dinner (something she learned in France her Jr. year at the Sorbonne), got plenty of rest and always exercised. Until her diagnosis, she was pretty much a doctor's dream patient, with perfect blood pressure and HDLs in the 90s.

She didn't play many sports...a little basketball and tennis...but chose jumping rope, until her knees didn't like it, and then riding a stationary bike as her form of daily cardio exercise and potting for her upper body strength. Of course, she also loved to go hiking.

As much as she liked exercising herself, she considered watching sports a waste of time.

In the early 70's, she and I went to the Superbowl in New Orleans. One of our seats was behind a pole. She gladly volunteered because there was a light on the pole and that meant she could see her knitting!

As you can see, Joan was a great role model, with extremely high standards....a hard act to follow.

As to her taking care of me, there were many roles she played that made me feel as though she did.

*She was my potter so gift giving was easy, (Joan, send so and so something beautiful) and gift receiving was a source of great joy. I never tire of showing off my big sister's work.

*She was my tax consultant: she always reminded me when estimated taxes were due and always had or found an answer to my tax questions.

*She was my health consultant: we had fun talking about and comparing numbers. Her's were always better.

*She was my hiking buddy and trip planner: all I had to do was get to where we were meeting and agree to drive. She did everything else, from planning the hikes to bringing all our supplies, including the tent.

I miss the phone calls, the daily e-mails and sharing each full moon but probably what I'll miss the most is the special time we shared on our many hiking trips.

Joan had such enthusiasm for the wonders of nature and the awesome sights we would see.

We would be climbing a mountain and all of a sudden she would stop. I'd think to catch her breath but it was what she was seeing that would take her breath away. She never minded that she had the Zucker bladder and had to get up several times each night, because each time she would get up, there would be even more stars to see or the Milky Way would be more visible or the moon would be a little brighter.

Although it was cut short, Joan had a wonderful life, full of passion and love. I'm glad to have been a part of it.