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Dr. Joan Giffin
12-09-2010

Dr. Joan Griffin, 68, a former Sioux Falls resident, died January 10 in Denver, Colorado, after a two-year fight with cancer. She was surrounded by friends and family. Joan was born to Mary Hoyt Griffin and Robert ("Bob") Griffin on November 10, 1941, in Chicago, Illinois. She spent her childhood in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where she resided in the North End with her parents and brothers, Jim, Jack, and sister Virginia ("Ginny"). Joan graduated from Cathedral High School in 1959 and attended the College of St. Theresa in Winona, Minnesota. While attending the College of St. Theresa, Joan entered the Order of St. Francis Convent in Rochester, Minnesota. Following graduation from college, Joan taught middle school in the Chicago area as a Franciscan for three years. Always committed to her education, Joan then moved to Brookings, South Dakota, to attend graduate school at South Dakota State University. She graduated from SDSU with a master of arts in English. She taught at Brookings High School until 1978 when she moved to Lincoln, Nebraska to attend the University of Nebraska. She taught and studied at the University of Nebraska, earning her doctorate in American Literature. Joan taught American Literature from 1990 to 2007 at Metropolitan State College of Denver, where she held the post of Director of Composition and retired as the Chair of the Department of English. An avid tennis player, Joan grew up playing tennis at McKennan Park in Sioux Falls. During the late 1950's, Joan was the SD Closed state singles champion three times while claiming four doubles titles. In 1959 Joan won the SD Open singles title after winning both singles and doubles titles the same summer at the SD Closed. During the 60's and 70's Joan taught junior tennis during the summers, and she coached the Brookings High girls' tennis team in the early 70's. While living in Lincoln, Joan returned to competitive tennis and earned a sectional ranking in the Missouri Valley Section. In 2002, Joan was inducted into the South Dakota Tennis Hall of Fame, honoring her many accomplishments as a tennis player, teacher, and coach. Joan was beloved by her family, friends and students. Known for her compassion and kindness, Joan was respected by all who knew her. Her patience combined with her unique ability to listen, allowed Joan to unite those around her. Joan was an inspiration to those she knew and will be greatly missed. Joan is survived by her sister and brother-in-law, Ginny (Sherwood) Hatch, Brookings, SD; her brothers, Jim Griffin, Minneapolis, MN; and Jack Griffin, Traverse City, MI. Joan was deeply loved by her nieces, Lisa and Amy, and her nephews, Patrick, Ripper, Sean, Christopher, and Michael. A Memorial Mass will be on Saturday, January 23 at 10:00 A.M. at St. Joseph's Cathedral. A Memorial Service Celebrating Joan's life was held in Denver on January 13. Memorials may be directed to the Sioux Falls Catholic School Foundation and the South Dakota Tennis Hall of Fame. Joan was preceded in death by her parents, Mary and Robert Griffin.

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