Joan Marie Poe (nee Gjertsen) died Monday, August 6, 2018.

She was born June 3, 1930 in Chicago, Illinois to Christian Gjertsen and Eleanor Naumann Gjertsen. She grew up and graduated from high school in Chicago.

In 1950 she accompanied a friend on a trip to San Diego. This friend set her up on a blind date with her boyfriend’s sailor friend, which began a 60-year love story. She was married to Richard Elden Poe, a Scotia-born boy, on December 15, 1951. Five children were born to this union, Joy (Edward) Porter of Springfield, Ohio, Robin Poe (Lil Brown) of Yreka, California, Jolon (Frank) Wilson of Rio Dell, Jennifer (Donald) Dillard of West Liberty, Ohio and Randy Poe of Portales, New Mexico. 

Courtesy of the U.S. Navy they lived in San Diego, Hawaii and finally Ferndale. Once Richard retired from the Navy they settled in Fortuna, where they lived until Richard died in July of 2012. Since 2013 Joan has resided with her daughter Jolon Wilson in Rio Dell.

Joan loved living in Humboldt County and could not imagine going back to Chicago to live. She enjoyed attending church when her health allowed and was a member of Christ Lutheran in Fortuna and St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Ferndale.  She would always help when asked and enjoyed singing in the church choir. She also sang in the Ferndale Community Choir led by Betty Diehl, who was a long time friend of Joan’s.

Joan also enjoyed painting, calligraphy, crocheting, reading and doing crosswords.

She loved and enjoyed visits from her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Her five children will tell you that she was the best mom and they were blessed to have her. 

She is survived by her children, sisters-in-law Jeanne (Lou) Baldi, Geraldine (Paul) Gonzales and Rosemary Poe. She was preceded in death by her parents and beloved husband as well as her sister Betty Cichon, brothers-in-law Donald Poe, Glenn Poe and Lou Cichon.

There will be a memorial service to celebrate her life in June of 2019.


The obituary above was submitted on behalf of Joan Poe’s family. The Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here.