Joan Hopwood LeBaron, 85, of Hurricane, beloved mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and sister, passed away peacefully Nov. 16, 2017, with her sons David and Steve by her side.
Joan was born Jan. 31, 1932, in Stretford, Manchester, England. She was the fifth and youngest child of Robert and Caroline Flynn Hopwood. When she was seven years old, she and her sister, Olive, were evacuated to Mobberly, Cheshire in the countryside outside of Manchester, where it was thought best that the children should be sent to be safer at the beginning of World War II. Olive soon went home because of homesickness, but Joan stayed for about a year. She loved the adventure of it but was thrilled to go home with her father when he came to visit her.
She arrived back in Manchester just in time for Hitler’s Blitz in December of 1940. Everyone spent their nights in the air shelters, which many of the children found to be a great adventure. They were required to carry gas masks to school each day, along with candy or a snack, in case they had to go straight from school to the shelters and had to stay overnight. Joan enjoyed this and had to replenish her snacks and candy every day even if there was no time spent in the shelter.
She always felt very safe and loved as a child and very well protected by her family. She loved school and her headmistress told her mother she was the happiest child she’d ever seen at the school. Her favorite job there was tea monitor because she got to leave class to make tea for all of the teachers and was allowed to have a cup for herself. She loved P.E. and was one of the fastest runners in her class. She loved to do everything when she was young, an enthusiasm that carried on through her whole life.
When Joan was 12 years old, she became pen pals with Allan LeBaron, a young farm boy from Santaquin. They wrote off and on for years. In 1954, Allan decided to look up his old pen pal while he was delivering a plane to England for the United States Air Force. They quickly fell in love during his succeeding trips and were married on Dec. 8, 1954 in Manchester. She came to live with him in the United States the following year, where they lived in Texas, San Luis Obispo, California, Santa Monica, California, and finally in the San Diego, California, area where they settled to raise their family.
Joan spent the following years raising her three children and supporting Allan in his career. When he retired in 1995, they moved to Hurricane where they planted and cared for their peach orchard. Joan loved to accompany Allan and to help him as he worked in the field. Over ten years ago Joan was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. She was able to stay at home in Allan’s care until 2 1/2 years ago, when he decided it was best for her to live in an assisted living facility. Along with the tender care of many CNAs, Allan still took loving care of her and never allowed her to be without a family member or her caregiver by her side.
Joan was preceded in death by her beloved husband of 63 years, Allan; her parents, Robert and Caroline Hopwood; her brother, Bobby (Norah) Hopwood; her sisters, Evelyn (Herbert) Earl; Joyce (Alan) Bellass; and Olive Ellis.
She is survived by her sons, David and Steven LeBaron, of St. George; daughter, Linda (Laurence) Crane of Overland Park, Kansas; granddaughters Caroline (Anthony) John of Overland Park, Kansas; Jill (Jacob) Allred of Salt Lake City; Emily (Matthew) Wilson of Overland Park, Kansas; Melanie (Andrew) Starita of Satellite Beach, Florida; and Laura (Trevor) Tom of Orem; great-grandchildren Will, Lauren, and Elliott John; Tyler and Michael Wilson; and Leah and Caleb Starita; her brother-in-law Frank Ellis of England; her sister-in-law, Janet (Boyd) Carter, Spanish Fork; and many nieces and nephews who she loved and admired.
We would like to thank the doctors, nurses, hospice workers, and the incredible CNAs who helped to care for our mom the last few years of her life. We couldn’t have done this without you.
- Services will be held Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017 at 11 a.m. with a visitation at 10 a.m., at the Spilsbury Mortuary in St. George.
- Burial will be held immediately following the service at the St. George Cemetery.
Arrangements have been entrusted to the care of Spilsbury Mortuary, 435-673-2454.
For condolences, full obituary and funeral listings please visit Spilsbury Mortuary online.