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Click HERE to read
Cathy, Mike, and Karen's
celebration of their
mother's life.


                                            Oct 22, 1939 – Aug 29, 2010


A Friend To All
(Obituary published in the Mountain Democrat)

Our wonderfully loving and creative wife, mother, sister and grandmother and friend to all suddenly passed away Sunday, August 29th in Camino, CA. She was born Oct 22, 1939 in Vancouver, Canada. She married her college beau, Gael in 1963. They were blessed with three children: Karen, Cathy (Matt) and Michael (Mindy) and six grandchildren: Michael, Nicholas, Matthew, Lindsay, Mark and Mia. Joan also has a sister: Lynn, niece: Ann and nephew: Graham (Vanessa). She was a sister-in-law to Rocky (Gael’s brother) and aunt to Rhonda, Jerry and Gina.

She liked to tell people she lived on an orchard, in a log house, in front of a forest with her husband of 47 years. She loved everything about it…including the large open spaces for her grandchildren to play and for friends to get together and the new garden that Gael had planted just for her.

She loved people, and was a friend to everyone. Her motto was that there are no strangers, just friends she hasn’t met yet. It’s as if she knew her purpose in life was to make other people feel good – and that’s exactly what she did – every – single – day.

Joan was an integral part of this community. She was involved in so many clubs, boards and organizations that we don’t have room to list them all here – but as a start…

Gold Country Board
4-H Apple Hill Growers Board
Hospice Board
Bridge Clubs (3)
Casa Board
Camino Writers Association
Shakespeare Club
People to People

She belonged to these groups because she truly wanted to make a difference. And she did.

Local author, philanthropist Joan Barsotti dies

From The Mountain Democrat Newspaper |
By Michelle Flood | Mountain Democrat staff writer | September 1, 2010

Children’s author and well known local philanthropist Joan Barton Barsotti, 70, died Sunday at her family home in Camino.

The name Barsotti is one of the most recognized in El Dorado County because of Barsotti Juice Company Inc. of Apple Hill and the myriad good causes that Joan and husband Gael, 72, were involved in. Two of their children, Cathy and Michael, work in the family business and daughter Karen is a teacher in Roseville.

“They had a busier social life, in their 70s, than we do at 45. When I call it was always so hard to get hold of them. It could be Monday Night Football; bridge - she belonged to three separate clubs; CASA; Rotary - may dad belonged and mom went along to the activities; Shakespeare Club; Snowline Hospice; and her writing clubs,” daughter Cathy Barsotti-Dooling said.

“When my parents helped with their different causes they dived into things - they didn’t just join,” she said.

“My mom was such a good person. She was so thankful and appreciative of everything. There are not enough positive words to describe her. What made her really special was that she cared. She was not a negative person. She never had a bad word to say about anybody.

“She never said “no” and she didn’t want to waste a minute. The grandkids just loved her and she always did things with them,” Barsotti-Dooling said.

“She had the heart of an angel and the energy of a 25-year-old,” Mountain Democrat columnist Bob Billingsley said. “She was as pretty as a movie star and understood clearly that love begins when you get outside yourself. She loved her family, her friends and her community.”

“She was a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) board member and a great fundraiser. She was willing to assume a leadership role at any time. Joan was totally dependable and had lots of creative ideas. She and her husband Gael were generous contributors to numerous causes and fundraisers and they were one of the most admired couples in the community. She was a creative writer of children’s books and very intelligent,” Billingsley said.

Gwen Wood, the retired executive director of CASA, was friends with Joan for 19 years. “She was an amazing woman and the most giving, caring person I ever met. There was no fundraiser in this county that she and Gael weren’t involved in - in some way. They either bought tickets or participated in it. Joan was a wonderful person and there are so many things I could say about her but that would just sound sappy - and I don’t want to sound sappy because that wasn’t Joan.

“The community has lost a wonderful person and she will be missed in many ways. At CASA she was on our Board of Directors and she helped with all the fundraisers - whether it be the barbecue at High Hill Ranch or helping make the annual CASA lunches (which all contained Barsotti apple juice). She was just a terrific woman - I can't think of any other way to describe her,” Wood said.

Joan was a member of the Women's Fund El Dorado, a program under the auspices of the El Dorado Community Foundation.

“It seems like for awhile every luncheon I went to I sat next to Joan,” said foundation Executive Director Bill Roby. “She had been part of the Women’s Fund since its inception. She was always a delight. She was a wonderful story teller and she always made me laugh. I will miss her. She gave so much of her time and energy and talent to this community.”

Artist Anne Gladwill was a longtime friend and collaborated with Joan on her last book, which has not yet been published.

“Joan was such a vivacious person – it’s hard to imagine she’s gone,” Gladwill said. “I loved that lady and it was so much fun working with her. It was a joy for me to do (the illustrations for Joan’s book) and have her come up here and we would just talk for hours. It’s a children’s book that we were working on - the story of two ornery fish that got themselves into all sorts of trouble. I finished the illustrations and she had OK’d it - but she put it on hold because she was re-doing her book on Okei-San (the young girl from the Wakamatsu Tea and Silk Colony that settled in Placerville). She was having it reprinted because she had sold out of copies,” Gladwill said.

In addition to her book on Okei-San, Joan Barsotti wrote a number of children’s books. The Placerville News Company in downtown Placerville carries them, including “Mike and Nick and the Pumpkin Patch,” “Nana Gets a Cat,” “Christopher and Grandma on Safari,” “The Little Green Frog and Other Poems,” “Andrew and Nana on Safari,” and “Okei-San, the Girl from Wakamatsu.”

“They are all really cute,” said Mary Meader, owner of Placerville News Company. “I’ve known Joan for at least 25 to 30 years. We met we met when our kids were in 4-H together. I loved working with her - I really did.”

Joan was a visiting author at elementary schools throughout Northern California and her family said she enjoyed being a presenter at California Kindergarten Conferences, Nevada Reading Week Conferences, a California School Library Conference and many clubs and organizations.

Close friends and neighbors, Bob and Diane Penn, had known Joan since 1976. Diane had difficulty finding the right words to describe her longtime friend.

“There is such a huge void. Joan and Gael both contributed so much to Camino and Placerville and El Dorado County. Joan was one of the kindest, most thoughtful people I know. I don’t think words can describe Joan. She was so gracious, and patient, and calm ... and she certainly touched so many lives. She was almost like an angel - because she was pretty darn perfect. She was always able to say the right thing at the right time. This is a very profound loss for Gael, her children, her family, her friends and her community,” Diane said.

According to her family Joan liked to tell people that she lived on an orchard, in a log house in front of a forest with her husband of 47 years. She loved everything about her life - including the large, open spaces that gave room for her grandchildren to play and her friends to gather. And she especially loved the new garden that Gael had just planted for her.

Joan loved people and they loved her back.

“My mom was a good listener. She had so much patience. She was truly interested in people and she had a great sense of humor. She would laugh so hard she would cry - and we used to do things to her just to see her do that,” her daughter Cathy said.

In Joan’s memory the family has set up a scholarship fund through the El Dorado Community Foundation. It is called the Joan Barton Barsotti Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship is for aspiring writers and journalists.

Joan is survived by her husband Gael and their three children - Karen Ewing, 46; Cathy Barsotti-Dooling, 45; and Michael, 42. She also leaves her son-in-law, Matt Dooling and daughter-in-law, Mindy, and her six grandchildren -Mike, 22; Nick, 21; Lindsay, 16; Matt, 19; Mark, 6; and Mia, 4.

The family requests donations be made to the scholarship fund through the El Dorado Community Foundation, 3097 Cedar Ravine Road, Placerville, 530-622-5621 or CASA, 347 Main St., Placerville, 530-622-9882.

Funeral services for Joan were held on Tuesday, Sept. 7, at 11:30 a.m., at St. Patrick Catholic Church, 3109 Sacramento St., Placerville. A reception followed in the parish hall.



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