Joan E. McKernan

Joan E. McKernanJoan Elizabeth (Kimley) McKernan lost her battle with dementia and was reunited with her sweetheart, Don Joe, on Feb. 24, 2020. They were separated from each other a mere 35 days.

Joan was born Oct. 14, 1938, in Johnson City, NY, to Harold Bernard and Marjorie Elizabeth (Cook) Kimley. The Kimley family moved to Alhambra, California in the early 1940s and moved to China Lake in 1947. Joan started fourth grade at Groves Elementary School located on the Naval Ordinance Test Station. She graduated from Burroughs High School in 1956 and continued her education at Bakersfield Community College, earning an associate of arts degree.

Joan was interested in horses at an early age and met the cowboy of her dreams while in high school. Don Joe and Joan married Aug. 3, 1958, at the All Faith Chapel at China Lake. They were blessed with two daughters, Donna Jo and DeAnne.

Joan’s early career found her at Bank of America. She was later employed by Ampex Corporation, Honeywell, and Alliant Techsystems. After retirement Joan enjoyed traveling, especially an Alaskan cruise with family members. She relished time with her grandchildren. She learned to quilt and often attended quilt retreats in Iowa.

Joan and Don Joe were the owners of the Triple D bar J Quarter Horse Ranch. She was very active in local horse groups and was a member of the Valley Riders for over 60 years. She competed in gymkhanas and horse shows in Ridgecrest and surrounding communities.

Joan was preceded in death by her husband of 61 years, Don Joe, and her parents. She is survived by her brother, William H. Kimley; daughters Donna Jo (Taylor) Smith and DeAnne (Ernie) Bell; grandchildren Daniel Smith, Natalie (Nathan) Salt, Megan (Chris) Moynihan, Logan (Bria) Smith, Jacob (Haillie Moudy) Bell, Zachary Bell, Abigail Smith, and Becca (Cody) O’Donnell; seven great-grandchildren; and countless friends who mourn her passing.

Funeral services will be held Saturday, March 7, at St. Ann’s Catholic Church, celebrated by Father James Dowds. Rosary will begin at noon, with a funeral mass beginning at 12:30 p.m. Burial will be at Desert Memorial Park.

In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made to Alzheimer’s Association (alz.org).

— Submitted by the family of Joan McKernan

Story First Published: 2020-03-06