Obituary of Barbara Joan Verplank
Known to her friends as Joanie, Barbara Joan Verplank was born on October 14, 1942, in New Mexico, and died peacefully in her colorful Albuquerque home on January 10, 2023, at the age of 80 in the company of her grandson and caregivers. She is survived by her daughter, Sydney McKinistry of Washington DC, her two beloved grandchildren, Brandon and Tatiana McKinistry, and her great granddaughter Naomi, whom she loved intensely, her brother Bill Davidson of Silver City NM and many friends including her caregivers Delfhina and Pauline Gabaldon.
Joanie was a highly-creative person who loved art and photography, crystals and stones, bright colors, plants and flowers. Her home was a beautiful reflection of her affections. Graduating from Santa Fe High School in 1960, she earned her degree in teaching in 1964 from the University of New Mexico. Her education and talents enabled many years of teaching New Mexico gifted students as well as positions in Monterey CA and Germany. Some of these positions facilitated her love of the ocean and travel and over the years she sought beaches and shells around the world, with Monterey, Mexico and the Caribbean being her favorites.
Joanie's vocation also helped to fuel her intense desire to fight for the underdog. She was known to collect strays, both people and animals, as she championed their causes without judgement based on color or circumstances or means. Many of the people who benefited will remember her for her kindness, her empathy and, of course, for her stunning light-blue eyes, red hair and tall height. In fact, her looks propelled her to modeling opportunities in her younger years, appearing in the Santa Fe New Mexican a few times, once in a swimsuit on the snow-covered slopes of the Santa Fe Ski Area!
Joanie lived a full life! She often enjoyed music and dance. She was fiercely independent and raised her daughter as a single working mother. In her later years she continued to live on her own, enjoying her home in Albuquerque's North Valley surrounded by collections of things she loved and her dogs Sable Mae and Muffin. Following years of debilitating illnesses, she created friendships with her caregivers and enjoyed their visits as well as those from friends and family. The family has sweet memories of their recent Thanksgiving together and those memories have comforted them in light of her unforeseen passing. In the end, Joanie returned to her home where she was surrounded by those who loved her and whom she loved.
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