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Joan Ellen Painter Callender: 1931-2023


Last updated 5/11/2023 at 11:29am

Joan Ellen Painter Callender, 91, passed away peacefully on March 23, 2023, with her family by her side.

Joan is survived by her daughter Thane Callender Petzold (Stephen Petzold), son Todd Callender (Seiko Hirayama Callender), and grandchildren Spencer Petzold, Samuel Petzold, Clarissa Petzold, Charlton Callender, and Ian Callender. Her husband, W. Stephen Callender, preceded her in death.

She was the daughter of David Staples Jr. and Alma Byrnes. This side of the family were ancestors of Edward Winslow, who immigrated from England on the Mayflower in 1620. She has long and deep pioneering roots ,which gave her a sense of adventure and purpose.

Joan was born May 13, 1931, in New York during the Depression. The family struggled financially, and around 1940 moved to the West Coast to settle in the California Bay Area (San Carlos).

Joan grew up with her brother in the San Francisco area with parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents. She attended San Jose State University, graduating with a degree in marketing in 1949. She was the first one in the family to earn a college degree.

Joan was adventurous, strong-minded, a proponent of women's rights, and not a traditionalist. Upon graduation she went to Alaska to work for a travel agent with sorority sisters where she led muddy bus tours in heels. What type of women did that in the early 1950s?

Soon after, she moved to Seattle and took a job at an advertising firm, where she met her soon-to-be husband, W. Stephen Callender. They were married in 1957, and the kids followed in 1958 and 1962.

Joan was restless; she had many contributions to make! She went back to school to get her teaching credential, becoming the marketing teacher (DECA) at Woodway High School, in Edmonds. "Mrs. C," as she was known, loved the job and was there for 22 years. Our family heard many stories about school adventures, including some memorable student trips to NYC; she loved her students.

Joan had many passions and involvements, including the Edmonds Unitarian Universalist Church, and volunteering with local schools. Joan was an avid reader who spent hours in the library and subscribed to many periodicals, including the local Seattle paper and the Wall Street Journal.

She also belonged to a discussion group that debated current events and was a member of Toastmasters. Most of all, she adored her friends and loved to entertain at her home on Hindley Lane.

She had a passion for travel and visited Asia, Mexico, and Europe as often as she could.

Finally, Joan loved her children and grandchildren. They were the pride of her life. She spent as much time as possible with the kids and grandkids. We loved her so much and her loss is deeply felt. She left a deep imprint on our values and ambitions.

Joan was a strong, loving, American pioneer from the Greatest Generation. The family expresses their thanks to all who assisted Joan over the years, with particular gratitude to Ms. Louisa Friday, and also Cogir of Edmonds Assisted Living and Memory Care.


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