It is with great sadness that we share news of the passing of Joan Allen on August 15, 2018. As plant pathologist for the Home and Garden Education Center, Joan was a vital part of the Center’s team. Thousands of homeowners and commercial growers who submitted plant samples for diagnosis reaped the benefits of Joan’s vast knowledge. During her thirteen years at UConn, Joan was a member of the Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey (CAPS) Committee, the UConn IPM group, the UConn Sustainable Living Team, and the planning committee for the annual Perennial Plant and Garden Conference.
Joan’s enthusiasm for her work as a pathologist and extension educator shone brightly in her work with groups of all ages, from preschool and high school students to adult learners. She got rave reviews from all. Kids at Bug Week enjoyed making their pipe cleaner insect creations as much as adult Master Gardener interns enjoyed viewing disease organisms under the microscope.
Joan’s keenness for pathogenic organisms was often much greater than that of her colleagues and fellow gardeners. While we despaired at the news of late blight on our tomatoes or downy mildew on our basil, Joan delighted in these finds—maybe a bit too enthusiastically for those of us planning to can tomatoes or make pesto!
Joan took the challenges of working at the Center—changes in teaching programs, new ordering and payroll systems, budget cuts—in stride, moving along her path with determination and fortitude. She was a glass half-full person and a source of strength and inspiration for her co-workers.
Joan, words cannot describe how much we miss you. Rest in peace.
Dawn Pettinelli, Carol Quish, Susan Pelton and Pamm Cooper.
Memorial donations in memory of Joan may be made to the UConn Foundation, Inc., Attn: UConn Home & Garden Education Center, 2390 Alumni Drive Unit 3206, Storrs, CT 06269.