Joan Kanan still has a lot of living to do. She is passionate about helping people to get involved in the world and have more empathy for others. Joan was born in Boston, Massachusetts and moved to Orlando when she was nine years old. She had an older sister and a younger brother and grew up swimming, fishing, playing in the school band, and spending time outdoors. Her favorite subjects in school were reading, literature, and history. As a child, she won an award for reading the most books in Orange County. 

Joan dreamed of working in an Embassy or in Civil Rights. She began college as an International Affairs major but changed her major to Social Studies / Education and earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from FSU. At that time, women were limited in career choices and encouraged to marry early. Joan began her career as a sixth and seventh grade teacher of Language Arts and Social Studies. She loved the field of education and became president of the teacher’s union in the 1980’s. Later in her career she worked as a cabinet aide, a lobbyist with the Florida Association of Counties, and an adjunct professor. 

After retiring at the age of 70, Joan continued to stay active in the community. She joined her homeowner’s association and later became the president. She became active in the League of Women Voters and chair of one of their committees. She is a talented artist who paints and is president of the Wiregrass Art Gallery in Thomasville, Georgia. She has been active in the TSC Art program, and served as president of the Art Council.  Travel is another one of Joan’s passions. She has enjoyed traveling around the USA as well as to Quebec, Cuba, Ireland, Portugal, Italy, and France. Travel inspires her art, and she often paints scenes from her adventures. Joan keeps fit by walking, gardening, and caring for her dog Abby and her cat Whiskey.  

Joan is most proud of her two daughters and two grandsons. Her close family enjoys dinners together, going to the beach, spending time in nature, and traveling together. She is passionate about art, voting, the future of politics and our democracy and making the world a better place for her grandchildren. Joan’s advice to her peers is “to stay positive, stay involved, stimulate your mind, and get out and do things. Seniors still have much to contribute so be sure to make the best of the time you have left.” 

By Maureen Haberfeld