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Joan Ruth McDonnell

Joan Ruth McDonnell
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Joan Ruth McDonnell 1930 – 2020

A trail blazing, strong woman, our Aunt Jo (aka Joan Ruth McDonnell) recently passed away at the age of 90. She was well known for her over the top generosity, her love of dogs, books and a suntan.

She taught us all that we could go anywhere and do anything, to believe in ourselves! In fact, she (not so secretly) believed women should rule the world! Unapologetic about her views on politics and life (eek!) she was very comfortable being her beautiful self.

As for her career, in her twenties she became the executive secretary to the president of Califoam Corporation (styrofoam pillows!), supervising all hiring for three plants along with labor negotiations. A woman in a man’s world back in the 1960’s.

In the late 60’s she married Bud McDonnell, with her big-hearted love, she readily welcomed Bud’s five children into her life, all the while working graveyard in law enforcement for the sake of the children.

In her later years, after Bud’s passing, she made room in her home for both her mother and eventually her sister, Patt Goslin, caring lovingly for each until they passed.

In the 1980’s Aunt Jo had the privilege of working at the District Attorney’s office in Carson City where even the public knew her as “Aunt Jo”.

She continued her career in law enforcement up until she was the age of 80. At that time she was an active Douglas County Deputy (working the metal detector) who was required to qualify at the range, which she did, had to pass the hand-to-hand takedowns, which she did. Would tell her fellow deputy opponent not to hold back. She would come home bruised, but wouldn’t give up. Finally the county “retired” her as a liability and she was hot! Boy, were they going to get it for age discrimination.

Well into her 80’s she was an active member of the Douglas County Footprinters Club comprised of retired law enforcement officers.

She is survived by two loving and devoted step daughters, Jody Denske and Lola McDonnell, nieces Joan Dotson, and Jean Creasey along with many, many “nieces” and “nephews”.

She was a dear friend, older sister, a great stepmother and known to all just as “Aunt Jo”. She left a big hole in our hearts and more memories than can be put in print.