Cover photo for Joan Fimbel Digiovanni's Obituary
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Joan Fimbel Digiovanni

June 18, 1935 — April 4, 2020

Joan Fimbel Digiovanni

June 18, 1935 — April 4, 2020

Dr. Joan DiGiovanni's Obituary
A big life enjoyed!

Joan Fimbel DiGiovanni, 84, born on June 18, 1935, in N.J. passed away April 4, 2020. She resided at the Pasadena Highlands, Pasadena, CA at the time of her passing.

Joan is survived by her daughter Portia, son-in-law Rick, her grandson Conrad, her daughter Juliet and son-in-law Herb. Cousin Helena, Sisters-in-law Jenny and Stella. And nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephew. And dear friend Phil H. and many loving friends.

Joan was the daughter of Selma and Albert. Joan started her schooling in Seagirt N.J. on the Jersey shore, when she and her parents lived with her grandparents on her Mother's side. Joan loved the beach. After Joan's grandparents, died her family moved to St. Petersburg, Florida, she had her first job in ticket sales at the local movie theater and completed high school early.

Joan's mother was a school teacher, and from an early age, Joan loved books and was an avid reader interested in learning and teaching. Joan began her love of art and color as a child painting with oils. Joan chose the career of a college professor with the encouragement of her parents. Joan graduated from Florida Southern College, Lakeland, Florida to earn her Bachelor's degree in Education. She went on to Columbia University, in N.Y. for her Master's degree in Psychology.
Joan met Philip DiGiovanni in Champaign, Illinois at University of Illinois while Phil was earning his Ph.D. in Psychology and Joan was Counselor at the Women's Residence Halls.

Joan and Phil in their time at Champaign joined the Unitarian Universalist church, which they both were very active in the church until their passing. Joan and Phil married in 1956 in Seagirt N.J. where both families gathered to celebrate.

Joan and Phil moved to Texas where Joan did her graduate work and earned her Ph.D. in Psychology at Baylor University, Waco, TX. Next, in Virginia where Joan had her first job as an associate professor of Psychology at the College of William & Mary.

Joan & Phil found their long-term home and advanced their careers in Springfield, MA. In 1963, Joan landed an associate professor position at Springfield College and Phil as a Psychologist at the Veterans Administration Outpatient Clinic. In 1965, Joan took a better opportunity at Western New England College and began her long happy career, starting as an associate professor in Psychology and climbing to full professor and then also served as Chair of the Department of Human Studies. One of the popular courses she taught was Psychology of Art. Joan retired from WNEC (now known as Western New England University) in 1999 after 31 years of service. Joan and Phil divorced in 1985.

But Joan didn't fully retire. Joan moved to Tucson, AZ, which fulfilled her lifelong dream to live in the Southwest.
Joan taught as a professor of Psychology for the U.S. Armed forces stationed in Naples Italy for a year. Upon return to Tucson, Joan taught part time at University of Arizona and later at Pima Community College. Joan finally retired at the age of 79 after more than fifty years of being a psychology professor. Joan was a life member of the American Psychological Association and for decades attended the yearly conferences.

After taking some graduate courses in studio art at the University of Arizona, she pursued a career as an artist. Joan was a member of the Desert Artisans Gallery in Tucson from 2005 to 2013. Joan's artwork shown in many art groups shows, and she sold many paintings. Joan was always one to include others in activities. She was the nucleus of many group activities, including forming a group of women artists who met monthly for several years to share current art projects and plan exhibitions - Artists' Connection Tucson (ACT). Joan's painting "Dinghy's Awaiting" was reproduced on the cover of The American Psychologist, APA's flagship journal. Joan's demonstrated her generous spirit by giving away many of her paintings, which continue to brighten her friends and family's lives.

Joan was a member of numerous Psychology associations, and in her retirement, she regularly traveled the world to speak, most often about the psychology of art and psycho-biographies of her favorite women artists. Joan's other life accomplishment was to travel to every continent with her dear friends. Joan traveled to Antarctica, went on safari in Africa, took a white-water river rafting voyage through the Grand Canyon, and visited her daughter Juliet on her sailboat in Mexico.

In 2015 Joan left her friends, home, and garden in Tucson, AZ to move to South Pasadena, CA to live close to her daughter Portia and her family. Joan had many happy memories as part of the family's gatherings and being there to watch her grandson grow up. Until the end, Joan took art classes with her trusted care-givers at Creative Arts group in Sierra Madre, CA. Joan was a loved member of her communities.
Joan and her joy of living will be deeply missed.

Offerings are welcome in Joan's name at either:

Neighborhood Unitarian Universalist Church, Pasadena, CA

or Creative Arts Group, Sierra Madre, CA

Arrangements are under the direction of Douglass & Zook Funeral and Cremation Services, Monrovia, California.

You can leave a message or story about Joan at the Douglas & Zook funeral home website under Obituaries.

A memorial service will be announced at a later date.
To send flowers to the family in memory of Joan Fimbel Digiovanni, please visit our flower store.


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