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IN MEMORIAM:  Joanna S. Rassmussen, 90;

Founded Oneonta ESC, Hartwick Benefactor

WALTON – Joann Spain Rasmussen, 90, founder of the Oneonta chapter of the Executive Service Corps and a Hartwick College benefactor, died Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014 at home, atop rolling farmlands, surrounded by love.

Born April 10, 1924, in Queens, a graduate of Smith College ‘46, Joann worked at IBM and was married for 60 years to Arthur Rasmussen, who predeceased her in 2008.

Joann lived a dynamic life of generous-spirited activism. While raising four children in Montclair N.J., in the 1950s and ’60s, Joann engaged actively in Planned Parenthood and Fair Housing (a community campaign to integrate white suburban enclaves).

She also became a certified teacher and tutored illiterate adults. Upon moving to Chicago in 1968, she was active in the Reading is Fundamental literacy program and Executive Service Corps (ESC), a nationwide nonprofit service that pairs retired executives with struggling community start-ups.

Upon retirement to the Catskills in 1990, she launched an ESC agency in Oneonta and served on the boards of WSKG, the Catskill Symphony Orchestra and Franklin Stage Company. A vigorous advocate of the disenfranchised, and a gracious, altruistic soul, Joann’s life motto was “never resist a generous impulse.”

In 2010, she established Hartwick College’s annual Dr. Arthur E. Rasmussen H ’95 President’s Lecture in her husband’s memory, aimed at bridging the gap between theory and practice. He was a captain of industry and president of Household International Inc.

She is survived by her four children, Mark and Will of London, and Kim and Ann of New York City and Montclair N.J. respectively. Also, six grandchildren; Emma, Mark, Nathan, Leah, Will and Luke.

Services will be Sunday, Oct. 26, at The Franklin Stage Company, with reception to follow at Erna McReynold’s and Tom Morgan’s home.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to William Ogden Library, 42 Gardiner Place, Walton, NY 13856.



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