By Casperson Funeral Home
Joan (Caldwell) Rutledge Blair was born January 19, 1929 to Dr. Paul Rutledge and Jean (Hamilton) Rutledge in Kirkwood, Missouri. The second daughter of 4 children (Anne, Paul (Tad) & Hamilton), Joan attended Mount Holyoke and then graduated from Washington University in Saint Louis.
After graduation Joan went to work for the CIA, living in Holland, Japan and Hong Kong before returning stateside in 1966. During that time she married David West and had two sons, David and Christopher. A second marriage to Clay D. Blair brought a new life researching and writing a large number of books and traveling across the U. S., Europe and in South America.
Regardless of where Joan lived, Washington Island was a constant in her life and she visited whenever she could. Her family started coming to the Island in 1937 and Joan always hoped she could live here full-time someday. The opportunity came in 1982 when Joan and Clay moved their writing operation to a house on Detroit Harbor. Joan threw herself into Island life, becoming active in the Trinity church, women’s club and building the Rec Center.
Joan passed away in the early hours of March 31st after battling lung cancer.
Joan was preceded in death by both of her parents, her husband Clay and her sister, Anne Truax. She is survived by her two younger brothers, both sons, two daughters-in-law and three grandchildren.
Joan’s final wish of passing away peacefully in her home on Washington Island was realized thanks to the dedication, generosity and love of her family, friends and organizations that supported her in her final days,.
Please consider donations to the following organizations: Island Medical Fund, Unity Hospice, WICHAP.
A Memorial Service and celebration of Joan’s life is planned for late July, 2017.