I can remember with total clarity the day in 1968 when I met Joan in New York. It was dinner at a restaurant near Rockefeller Center. How my brother lucked out I'll never know for sure. But I was glad he did. We all were. She and Ron lived for a time in San Francisco in the Marina, their first home, a sunny apartment where they both loved to dine at a local Italian restaurant. That was where Joan showed me what it meant to be a slow eater, something I always admired about her, an ability to savor a memorable dinner in the grand manner while everyone else was plowing through their meal.

Like the artist she was, Joan knew how to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary. She loved what she did and was literally fired up as she worked magic at a studio or a kiln in her garage and then waited for the marvelous results to come out of her kin.

Although Joan was blessed with a whimsical sense of humor she was also very prescient when it came to spotting family problems very early, a disturbing habit my mother. She was so on target I was often speechless. How did she always know what was going to happen years ahead? don't recall ever telling her this but she had remarkable instincts and tended, over and again to make careful value judgements that were prophetic.

She never exactly told you were wrong about something but her batting average was simply astonishing. Like the artist she was she had an uncanny ability to read situations, people, even restaurants she had never actually ever been in before.That was Joan, one of the smartest people I've ever known and also someone who knew how to celebrate all of life's little victories. She was also hilarious in her ability to handle my dad, particularly on subjects like diet. She was so diplomatic and he loved it.

Joan was a born trouble shooter and as a result she was a terrific negotiator when it came to family matters. If it was better to start at 11 p.m. than 10:30, she knew why and of course she was right. Marty, my wife, reminds me that Joan also retained the admirable ability to say no. She would have been fine with the fact that some people couldn't join us today. She would have been the same way herself.

It's hard for me to articulate how much my parents adored Joan. As soon as Rebecca was born my mother jumped on a plane in Israel to rush back to meet her first grandchild. Instead of feeling crowded, Joan did a great job of making sure that Shirley had plenty of opportunity to enjoy as much time as possible with Ron and the baby. She was the same way with all the rest of us.

Joan had a life she was really proud of. She loved creating great art and her holiday sales were also highlights of the year for many people. She was never happier than when she was on a night out with friends.

I know she also incredibly proud of Rebecca and Julie and ALana and Ron. She loved cheering them on while busily creating new works on her wheel. A good life cut short is something that doesn't seem possible, even after it's happened. It has been a privilege and an honor to be part of Joan's family for the past 40 years.

They have gone by far too swiftly. We miss her terribly.