Joan W. Brucker
- Published: October 8, 2009
Joan Wagner Brucker of Yellow Springs died peacefully at home October 2. She was surrounded by family and spent her last day in the care of her community of friends. Joan had been a cancer survivor since 1990.
A lifelong believer in the joyful power of books, Joan served as librarian for schools in Springfield, Yellow Springs and Dayton. Upon retirement, she volunteered as a children’s book reviewer and read every week to children at the Yellow Springs Community Children’s Center, where she was known as “Granny.”
Born April 24, 1930, in Baltimore, Md., to Margaret Corson Wagner and Henry Milton Wagner, she spent her childhood amidst a diverse community of missionary workers, foreign students, and social justice activists. She attended Friends School in Baltimore and Oberlin College, graduating in 1951. Soon after, she married college friend Roger Brucker, of Shelby, Ohio, and the family moved to Yellow Springs. Ever the visionary, Joan transformed a dilapidated farm house on several acres across from the village dump to a diverse neighborhood of families. In 1957, the “glass house” was built with ideas Joan collected in scrap books. During that time the family grew with four children; however, there was always room for someone in need.
With her children at college, Joan too returned to college, earning a masters in library science from Wright State University. She authored the annotated bibliography “White Racism in Public School.” She contributed to Dayton Montgomery Public Library, Library Children’s Review group and the Southwestern Ohio Young Adult Materials Review group.
In Yellow Springs, Joan originated the community carol sing led by Walter Anderson and Jean Putnam, served on the board of Chamber Music Yellow Springs and was a member of the Yellow Springs Friends Meeting.
Joan traveled the world, often visiting with authors and illustrators in children’s literature. Her meticulous scrapbooks document each of these journeys, as well as the lives of her family.
Joan is survived by her children and their spouses: Tom Brucker, Nashville, Tenn., Ellie Marshall, S. Stratford, Vt., Jane Benham, Pitchin, Ohio, and Emily Brucker, Seattle, Wash., four grandchildren, her brother Henry (Bud) Wagner in Shady Side, Md., and several cousins, nieces and nephews. She also leaves her special friend Hardy Trolander and her dog Bucky, who now has a whole farm to play on. Joan was preceded in death by her sister Margaret Hartley and her parents.
A memorial service will be held in the future under the care of Yellow Springs Friends Meeting. Remembrances may be made to Chamber Music Yellow Springs.