ForeverMissed
Only a few weeks before her 89th birthday, Joan (Sheaffer) Stiggelbout passed away under the comforting care of the staff at the Greenwood Assisted Living Center in San Rafael, California.  

Joan was born in Miami, Florida as the oldest child of Hayden and Sarah Sheaffer.  Not long after, the Sheaffer family moved to Rothsville, Pennsylvania, living with Hayden’s sister before buying an old log home (converted from a cigar factory) on Church Street.  She was an energetic tom-boy, known as “Bony Joany,” participating in the Rothsville school’s glee club, cheer-squad, school plays, and excelling in track and field where she pursued sprinting events and high-jumping.

Part of Rothsville’s class of 1950, Joan took Latin classes  (teaching a few words to her brother and sisters) and spent her summers interning for Dr. Kowalewski where she found her life’s passion in health care.

In 1954, she graduated from Wagner College in New York City with a BS degree in nursing.  During college, she developed into a fine skier, often driving all through the night with friends to ski the modest and often icy slopes of Vermont.  50 years after graduating, Joan was recognized as the Wagner College Alumni Fellow of the Year for her pioneering work in Community Health and Pediatric Nursing.

After graduation, and while working  as a registered nurse at Statin Island General Hospital, she met her future husband,  Hendrik Daniel Stiggelbout, a recent MD graduate from the University of Amsterdam.  The tall, handsome Dutchman made an annoying first impression as he flirted by shooting cotton balls at Joan from a rubber band stretched between his thumb and index finger.

Anxious to escape the dreary cold of both NYC and Amsterdam, Henk and Joan moved to Honolulu, Hawaii, where they married in 1955.   It didn’t take long in the islands before Island Fever drove them back to Amsterdam where Henk finalized his Dutch studies and Joan delivered their first child, John Stiggelbout on September 27, 1956.

Joan and Henk moved to Denver, Colorado in 1957 where Joan continued her nursing career and Henk specialized in Radiology at the University of Denver.  In May, 1958, they added a second son, William, to the family.  We can be certain that Joan carved out time to tear up the Colorado ski slopes during her Denver years.

In 1961, the family moved to Olympia, a small and growing Washington town needing a Radiologist.  Joan was the first nurse under the employ of what was to become Olympia Radiological Associates. A couple of years later, Joan gave birth to daughter, Christina, the first female Stiggelbout in over 100 years!  Grand cause for celebration!!

In 1968, Joan (with Henk’s tacit approval) bought a small condominium at White Pass, Washington and taught her 3 children to ski and to appreciate the white beauty of mountain winters.   Condo #123 at the Village Inn is now in the 3rd generation of Stiggelbouts!  Summers were spent water-skiing on Budd Inlet with friends who brought their ski boats.

Joan went back to school in 1973 and graduated from the University of Washington two years later with a Master’s Degree in Pediatric Nursing.  With this credential, she embarked on a 20-year career on the faculty of Pacific Lutheran University’s College of Nursing (Tacoma, Washington).  Her contributions to PLU were many, including service on a number of committees and leading student groups on adventures to exotic places.

While on sabbatical in 1984, Joan founded a small wellness clinic in Olympia.  The low-cost clinic was born to address rising health-care costs which were severely impacting low income families.  In 1986, Joan founded the PLU Wellness Clinic on the edge of the PLU campus to serve the Parkland community as well as the greater PLU family.  The clinic was staffed entirely by PLU’s nursing school faculty and students.

During her tenure at PLU and with ongoing studies, she became, if not the first, certainly one of Washington State’s first Licensed Pediatric Nurse Practitioners with prescriptive authority.  This license enabled Joan to offer her pediatric patients a much expanded range of health care.

Unable to retire responsibly, Joan continued serving the community as a PNP in several small clinics in the South Puget Sound area until 2005 when she finally hung up her stethoscope to become a Master Gardener through a program at Washington State University and a full-time oma (Dutch grandmother).   She adored her 5 grand-children, proudly attending many school events, sporting competitions, and, of course, the annual Olympia Pet Parade.

Henk passed away in 2005 leaving Joan at the family Indian Road property where she thrived as a gardener.  She enjoyed floating on her inner tube in the warm summer waters of South Puget Sound while her faithful Australian shepherd, Buddy, ran up and down the shore barking frantically. For a time she spent her winter holidays in California near Christy and John before moving to the Greenwood Home full time in 2020.

As a professional, Joan was a compassionate pioneer in the world of pediatric nursing. More importantly, however, she enjoyed an active life full of adventure, enduring friendships, and a strong relationship with her Lord.  She was a dedicated student, a patient teacher, a devoted mother and grandmother who laughed until she cried.   We will remember that infectious laughter always.  Woo-Woo-Woo!

Joan is survived by her brother, Hayden Lowry (Jim) Sheaffer, her sister, Julie Ann Buch, and her three children,  Christina Tillman (Bob) and their children, Sarah and Hendrik; John Stiggelbout; and William Stiggelbout (Cynthia) and their three children,  Zachary, Chloe, and Kyra.  She was predeceased by her husband, Hendrik, her sister, Flora Jan Gall, and her parents Hayden and Sara Sheaffer.

The family is planning a post-pandemic celebration-of-life event in Olympia, WA.   If you’d like to be apprised of this event, please send an email to:  willy@pachena.com.  

Posted by Kristin Carsley on April 1, 2021
Joan was my nursing professor at PLU in the early 80s. She was the best and encouraged me to follow my passion, pediatric nursing. So in 1981, I joined the nurses at PSPH on the pediatric unit. Moving to Olympia and to St.Peter, allowed me continue our friendship. My husband, Robert knew Hank on a professional level and we so admired them both. Our love is sent to the family. 
Posted by DAWN KNUTZEN on March 31, 2021
Joan and Henk were the great neighbors (that we never actually had). They owned the property next to our house. Whenever we called regarding something with the property, Joan always asked how our kids were doing and took a genuine interest in our family even though we seldom met. That's just the kind of person she was. Both of them were always very good to us. We always considered them neighbors. We purchased that lot a couple of years ago. We'll always remember where it came from. Dave and Dawn Knutzen
Posted by David Cook on March 29, 2021
Joan and Henk Stiggelbout were good friends of my parents, Stuart and Gertrude Cook. Dad often referred patients to Dr. Stiggelbout. The Stigglebouts have been our neighbors since we moved to our home on Cushman Road in 1994. They were great neighbors to have in the Cushman/Indian road community. We will miss seeing Joan on her walks through the neighborhood.
Dave, Chi, Andrew and Daniel Cook

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Posted by Kristin Carsley on April 1, 2021
Joan was my nursing professor at PLU in the early 80s. She was the best and encouraged me to follow my passion, pediatric nursing. So in 1981, I joined the nurses at PSPH on the pediatric unit. Moving to Olympia and to St.Peter, allowed me continue our friendship. My husband, Robert knew Hank on a professional level and we so admired them both. Our love is sent to the family. 
Posted by DAWN KNUTZEN on March 31, 2021
Joan and Henk were the great neighbors (that we never actually had). They owned the property next to our house. Whenever we called regarding something with the property, Joan always asked how our kids were doing and took a genuine interest in our family even though we seldom met. That's just the kind of person she was. Both of them were always very good to us. We always considered them neighbors. We purchased that lot a couple of years ago. We'll always remember where it came from. Dave and Dawn Knutzen
Posted by David Cook on March 29, 2021
Joan and Henk Stiggelbout were good friends of my parents, Stuart and Gertrude Cook. Dad often referred patients to Dr. Stiggelbout. The Stigglebouts have been our neighbors since we moved to our home on Cushman Road in 1994. They were great neighbors to have in the Cushman/Indian road community. We will miss seeing Joan on her walks through the neighborhood.
Dave, Chi, Andrew and Daniel Cook
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