This charming and witty lady was born on November 11, 1905, and has been featured in numerous publications like Lowvelder and Get it Lowveld because of her longevity and inspirational attitude towards life. She lived at Macadamia Village in White River for several years, and then moved to a bedsitter at the care centre a few years ago.
Joan was born in Stretford on the outskirts of Manchester, England, as youngest of three sisters. Despite the fact that girls were mostly groomed for marriage in those days, Joan was given a scholarship to Manchester High School for Girls. She was very proud to be part of this prestigious school and was even featured in its newsletter after her 109th birthday. In an interview when she was 105, she told Peter Doble that many of those memories had faded, but she still recalled the bombing, the horse-drawn trams and the name of her headmistress, Miss Sara Burstall. She was very supportive and agreed that Joan had to follow her dream of becoming a ballet dancer.
She trained at Manchester Ballet School and Sadler’s Wells in London and was chosen to dance with the Russian Ballet for several consecutive years.
In 1926, at the age of 21, she married a Scottish doctor. They travelled extensively due to his work, living in Nigeria and Jamaica.
The love of her life, however, was her second husband, Samuel Maxwell McCready. He was the British Amateur Golf Champion in 1949 and married in 1952.
The couple later moved to Johannesburg and Max took up the position the managing director of a large earth-moving company. Joan had a very busy life as she loved interacting with people, visiting the Kruger National Park and travelled quite often.
She and her husband moved to White River in 1975 to retire and he passed away in the early 1990s. To commemorate Joan’s 100th birthday in 2005, she received letters of congratulations from the Queen of England and Nelson Mandela.
Her funeral service will take place today (March 27) at 11:00 at St George’s Anglican Church, just outside White River.