Joan Winston: Recollections and Tributes
Joan passed away on September 11, 2008. Additional Memorial Tributes are linked through a large table on the main page of this site.
Presented as Part of A COMPANION IN ZEOR'S
Thirtieth Anniversary Year
Part of A Companion in
Recollections, for inclusion, can be e-mailed to Karen MacLEOD
Additional earlier tributes are linked through a table at the bottom of this page.
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Joan Winston's Eulogy
Read by Anne Pinzow at Joanie's Funeral Service
September 14, 2008
From Howard Weinstein
I saw Joan Winston before I ever met her, bustling around in her role as one of the organizers at the first of the legendary Febcon New York Star Trek conventions in 1972. In 1976, at the final Febcon, when I was brought into the fold as a guest writer I got to see Joanie in action from a figurative ringside seat -- a fitting descriptive, since Joannie was something of a ringmaster at these seemingly chaotic yet scrupulously organized extravaganzas. Our paths crossed many times over the next 30-odd years, and I can safely say that Joan Winston was and is a wry, witty, hilarious story-teller -- and a talented writer. Her book The Making of the Trek Conventions is a gem.
Here's to ya, Joanie. From all STAR TREK fans, thanks for the honor of your company...and long may you regale us!
From Angelique Trouvere:
I remember meeting Joan at my earliest Trek con (Jan. 1974). She was bright and funny and made everyone feel welcome whether you were a fan or a celebrity. She seemed to have a dozen projects going at once but always took the time to say hi to me and catch me up on the latest news. She loved to share the fun!
Because I missed the first one, in 1976, Joan made sure that I got to participate in the Future Fashion Show that Bill Theiss put on with the dresses from the show and movies. Thanks to Joan, I have that special memory and so many others that I'm always happy to share.
From Amy Harlib
Joan Winston was very important to me. I met her at my very first Con in 1976. She appreciated my art talent and a couple of years later, bought two of my cartoons for her professionally published mass market paperback book Startoons, edited by Joan Winston (Playboy Press, 1979). That was one of my first significant professional art sales. I still treasure my copy of that book to this very day.. Joan will always have a very special place in my heart. Her passion opened doorways that would never have existed otherwise.
From George Takei
She was an energetic and vivacious advocate for Star Trek and we loved her very much.
From Joel Davis
Funny, witty, charming, lovely, and that's me. No, seriously, folks, that's Joanie. I met her with Shirley Maiewski and Jacqueline Lichtenberg. Together, along with a host of others, they brought me, dragging and screaming, into the world of Star Trek fandom.
And, boy, am I ever grateful to them. Especially to Joanie. You look into those eyes that sparkle, and that smile of hers, and she could make the worst day of your life seem like the best. And heaven knows, we've all had a few of those. Just ask anyone who has stood in line at the Commodore Hotel, or the dreaded Americana Hotel elevators. If "Beam me up, Scotty," had been a reality then, we all could have benefited from it.But it was Joanie's smile, along with Jacqueline's and Shirley's, that made those cons work for all of us. A true party.For 12,000 of her closest friends, even to this day.
And we remain, ever grateful, to Joanie Winston.
From Karen MacLeod
I was an attendee at two of the last original Star Trek Conventions Joan's "Committee" held. Without Joan's creativity at bringing people together to celebrate Star Trek, most people thought they were alone in enjoying "just a TV show." It is my opinion that these first conventions, featured in Joan's book: The Making of the Trek Conventions or How to Throw a Party for 12,000 of Your Most Intimate Friends were the basis for all such science fiction and fantasy conventions that have followed to this day. I met with Joan many times over the years. I'd like to consider her a dear friend. Thank you, Joan, for allowing me to join your party, and to subsequently be involved in both fandom, and the publishing field.
From Linda Deneroff
I'm stunned and saddened by Joanie's passing. I knew her for over 35 years, and while being on the left coast made it hard to stay in regular contact, I will always remember and cherish her friendship. She enjoyed life to the fullest and had the ability with words to share her experiences and let you live them with her. Star Trek fandom was the love of her life, and we loved Joan in return. It was because Joan was working at CBS that I applied there after graduating college. I housesat for Joan while she was travelling, and got to read all her Star Trek scripts. I won't say I lived vicariously through Joan, though I did sometimes wish my life was as exciting as hers appeared to be to me. Joanie may be gone, now, but she will never be forgotten. Rest in peace, Joanie
From Eileen Salmas
I got several phone calls yesterday to let me know that my dear friend Joanie had died. She was a unique woman and a force of nature. We met picketing NBC to keep Star Trek on the air for a 3rd season. I had the honor and pleasure of being on the first Star Trek Con committee with her when we organized that historic event. She was a role model for a naive 14 year old - an unapologetic career woman who influenced me to follow my dreams and study TV and Film. With her help and a recommendation from Gene Roddenberry I got into UCLA graduate film school program. Sadly, we'd lost touch over the past few years. So it was a shock to hear the news. I mourn her loss.
From Sharon Jarvis
One of the legends about Joanie was her apartment. It was a 4th floor walk-up and visiting Joanie was like mountain climbing in Tibetlots of gasping for breath and praying to a higher source for strength.
I was one of a privileged few who actually got to see the apartment and even slept on her couch. But even when you could go inside you couldn't go inside. Somehow she'd managed to fit her massive designer wardrobe and a zillion books into a studio apartment, along with mountains of Star Trek memorabilia and pictures of her latest obsession. There's wasn't much room left for people and in fact I never got beyond the living room door.
Joanie's obsessions were also legendary. From Elvis to ice dancing, every one of her friends can recite the list of heartthrobs in correct order. She threw 100% of herself into every endeavor, from organizing the first Star Trek conventions to collecting every piece of music and movie Elvis ever made. Thanks to Joanie, I got backstage at Paramount Studios and got drunk with the actors at the cons.
Joanie was entertaining, loyal and generous. Being Joanie's friend was immense fun and I'm going to miss her greatly.
From Jacqueline Lichtenberg
Joan Winston was one of the most giving people I have ever met. She literally would give you clothing out of her closet. For several years she worked as an assistant in the homes of shut-ins and the terminally ill. She cared lavishly and tenderly for these strangers. She made the dearest friends among fans - not just Star Trek fans, but Figure Skating fans, too. She gave money she couldn't afford to a Figure Skating fan photographer who had a wasting disease and couldn't work. She found joy and brought it into everyone's life she could reach. She shared her enthusiasms and ignited new enthusiasms in others.
She wasn't religious, but every Passover she would carry a box of matzah to her office. She never forgot Passover. She has an assured place in the World To Come.
From Nell Kozak
Joanie was the epitome of elan, a mixture of grace and chic, style and warmth. If Joanie was your friend, she was there for you. Always. And she was everybody's friend.
As one of those who was privileged to have read the entire manuscript of her almost-published novel, Keep Me Warm, I knew she was a truly talented writer-- all the more remarkable because she was self-educated, becoming a cosmopilitan and cultured New Yorker.
She stood by and took care of her parents through their lengthy deterioration from Altzheimer's, and we can rejoice in the fact that she was spared a protracted battle with that awful disease herself.
I just want to remind you all of one anecdote about Joanie. After her mastectomy and before her reconstructive surgery, she and a friend who had also had a mastectomy attended the 1978 World Science Fiction Convention in Phoenix as Amazons, brazenly flashing their scars for all the world to see as they brandished their bows and arrows. That takes a New Yorker's gutsiness, to stare down a life-threatening illness and turn it into a science fiction costume.
That was Joanie all the way-- all New Yorker, all guts, all style, all heart. I'll miss her.
I've known Joan for more than 30 years since we first worked together on the Star Trek Conventions. She's always been energetic, vivacious, funny and an enthusiastic person who loved life, loved her neighborhood, loved to say hi to all the passing dogs when she went out for a walk. Her zest for life made her somebody very special. We'll all miss her tremendously.
All of the stories you've heard are about what Joanie has done for others. It's very rare to ever hear of what someone did for Joanie because her energy just didn't work that way. However, as a typical New Yorker City dweller, Joanie never drove.
That's how I first met Joanie, I was picking up a friend from the airport and she asked if I'd also give a ride to her friend, Joanie. Joanie immediately reacted to me as if I was a long lost friend and I was suddenly in her very large circle of close friends. We'd share expenses occasionally to Star Trek and World Science Fiction Conventions, trading stories, ideas, and plots for scripts we wanted to write. At one convention, my estranged husband called to harangue me and Joanie answered the phone, she gave it to him with both barrels.
Even in her last days, Joanie gave laugher and love, encouragement and support. Even the people who just met her would say, Joanie's a doll, we love her.
I never asked Joanie to read any of my work but the last time I saw her, just a couple of weeks ago, Joanie asked me to bring her some of my newspaper articles because she hadn't done that for me. That was Joanie, to the last. Always giving of herself, in fact, she said to me that her sorrow was she didn't know why, when she had so much more she wanted to give, she had a condition that prevented her from doing so.
Joanie, we'll always love you.