After a happy and adventuresome life, Joan Pierson Shaw Propst, passed away on September 7, 2021. Joanie was a dedicated wife, mom, grandma, great grandma and horsewoman.
Joanie was born in 1929 to Kenneth and Margery (Field) Shaw and raised in Easthampton, Massachusetts. Joanie had a love of horses early on. She babysat, weeded tobacco and picked strawberries among other jobs, to earn money for a horse. One of her later horses was trained to pull a cart, so she drove her brother to summer camp in order to save gas due to gas rationing during World War ll. Joanie was determined to move “out west” for college and to marry a cowboy. Much to her mom’s worries, Joanie boarded the train for Colorado A&M (now CSU, Fort Collins) to graduate with a degree in Animal Science. She did meet her cowboy, Allen Douglas Propst. Together they helped to get a rodeo arena built and organize college rodeos and other events. Joanie was the rodeo’s “All Around Cowgirl” in 1949.
Married in 1950, Doug and Joanie worked on various ranches in Colorado and Montana, before accepting the opportunity to take over ranch management for the Santa Catalina Island Company. Interviewed in Chicago in the Wrigley building, the Propsts moved sight unseen to Santa Catalina Island. When they got off the boat, the prospects didn’t look too great as the island was horribly overgrazed, but they stuck it out to make the improvements. There is a whole lot more to this story, but suffice it to say, that it was really rewarding in many ways, challenging in others.
Joanie was well-known for raising Welsh show ponies, teaching riding lessons and establishing the Catalina Island Pony club of which she was the District Commissioner. She was also in the egg business, providing eggs to island residents. Joanie provided endless hours and effort in support of Doug’s efforts in improving Catalina’s interior, and later in getting the Catalina Conservancy up and running. Joanie made countless jeep tour lunches, and buffalo stews for range tour groups. After 44 years, Joanie and Doug retired to Modoc County to be closer to family and also to not have to ride any more cross channel boats or ocean going barges.
Joanie was predeceased by husband Doug, and granddaughter Jessica Younger Dickens. Left to celebrate a life well-lived are her brother Ken Shaw ’51, sister Margery Shaw ’58; daughters Susi Younger(Jay), Barbie Read(Dick), Robin Paine, (Ernie); grandchildren; Ruby Uhart(Domingo), Elizabeth Younger, Doug Paine(Kristin) and three great grandchildren; Marcus Uhart, Hadley Paine, and Walker Paine.
private family celebration will be held. Please remember Joanie in your own way. If you wish, donations in remembrance can be made to: Santa Catalina Island Pony Club, PO Box 395, Avalon, California 90704. This pony club is an affiliate of the United States Pony Club which encourages children to have a knowledge of horses as they become good riders. The Catalina Pony Club appreciates funds to help sponsor local kids who aren’t able to afford riding lessons.