UNADILLA — Joan C. McLaud, 89, founder with her husband of the Douglas M. McLaud Insurance Agency in Otego, and also pursued a wide range of interests, passed away in her home on Nov. 6, 2019, with her devoted daughters, Mary McLaud and Susan Van Cott, by her side.
Joan was born on Dec. 19, 1929, in Oneonta, at the beginning of the Great Depression, the daughter of Stewart Crandall and Grace Matteson Crandall of Laurens. Her father was a musician and jazz pianist who filled her life with music. She loved playing the piano, organ and sang with a voice like Ella Fitzgerald and could scat with the best.
Joan was married to Douglas M. McLaud and together they raised five children in their homes on Garden Street and State Street in Oneonta and their farm on the Otsdawa in Otego.
Joan loved animals and over the years took in and cared for 49 stray cats and other animals. Joan was an avid organic gardener who grew and canned a myriad of fruits and vegetables for her family and friends for more than 60 years. Her homemade spaghetti sauce and tomato juice were loved by all.
She was an extremely dedicated and hard worker. Over the years she held many jobs and positions. Among them were lifeguard and swim instructor at the Oneonta YMCA; bookkeeper for Hoffman Dry Cleaners; bookkeeper for the Town of West Oneonta; accounting assistant for Eckankar in Menlo Park, Calif., and Chanhassen, Minn.
Joan and Douglas founded the Douglas M. McLaud Insurance Agency in Otego. For years they worked tirelessly to make it the success it became, rivaling firms like Staveley Head Insurance with their integrity and dedication.
At the age of 49, Joan got her private pilot’s license and bought a 1953 Cesna 172. She loved being up in the sky. She lived in New York, California, Florida, Minnesota and Wyoming and traveled the world. Joan bought one of the early IBM computers and learned COBOL, BASIC and MS-DOS programming languages. Joan was a student of the weather and never tired of watching and learning from the Weather Channel. Joan was a lifelong proponent of naturopathic medicine, herbology and complementary treatments such as acupuncture, reflexology and chiropractic treatments as an adjunct to traditional medical treatments.
Joan was a member of Eckankar for 52 years, a nondenominational spiritual organization devoted to the belief in the light and sound of God and that LOVE is all that ultimately matters. She worked every day to be of service to others and take responsibility for herself and her actions.
Joan was predeceased by her beloved daughter, Katheen McLaud Spisak Ernest; her beloved granddaughter, Ginny Kathleen Dolezel; and her beloved brother, David James Crandall.
Joan leaves behind her beloved children, son, Douglas McLaud and Pauline McLaud of Spring Hill, Florida.; daughters, Leslie Blum of Hot Springs, South Dakota, Susan Van Cott and Craig Van Cott of Unadilla, Mary McLaud of South West Harbor, Maine; beloved grandchildren, Amy Callahan, Daniel Dolezel, Lori Bedard, Stephanie Horlock, Suzi Spisak-Moutinho, Zoe Vandermeulen, Leif Van Cott, Alex Van Cott, Ian Van Cott and Gillian Morrison; beloved great-grandchildren, Sam, Jade, Charlie, Skyler, Jacob, Daniel, Logan, Korey, Kasey, Gabriella, Fiona, Jake, Xander and Gwyneth; as well as great-great-granddaughter, Zoey.
Special thanks to our mother’s dear friends, Vivian Young, Joyce Prince, Phyllis Sutherlin and Barbara Lord, for all of their help and support over the years.
Special thanks to our mother’s medical caregivers: Dr. Jerry Falco, Dr. Rosita Aquino, Dr. Nathan Goldman and staff at UHS Radiation Oncology (with the best waiting room ever), Dr. Madhuri Yalamanchili at Broome Oncology and most heartily to Dr. Nick Liu and staff at Upstate Urology of UHS. Dr. Liu embodies ALL that a doctor should be with excellent surgical skills,as well as medical and compassionate care that goes above and beyond. I will forever be grateful for ALL you did for my mother and the support you gave me in caring for her.
A celebration of Joan’s life will be held on Dec. 14, at C.H. Landers Funeral Chapel, 21 Main St., Sidney. Calling hours will be from 10 a.m. to noon with a service beginning at noon.
All are welcome to share food and friendship at a 1 p.m. luncheon at Unadilla Neighborhood Apartments, 71 Clifton St., Unadilla. Join us in celebrating the passing of a good and kind soul.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to Unadilla Food Pantry or Unadilla Emergency Squad.
Share condolences and memories with the family by visiting online at www.landersfh.com.
Arrangements are under the direction of C.H. Landers Funeral Chapel, Sidney.