Joann Tanner Rounds

Date of Death

November 21, 2011

City of Death

Santa Barbara

Joann Tanner Rounds died on November 21, the last day of her 89th year, at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital — where she was born.

The only child of Talma and Agnes McManus Tanner, Joann spent her childhood in Pasadena and Palmdale. She married Harold Rounds in 1941. During the war, she was a draftsman for Lockheed and Douglas, and later Caltech and SBCC. Joann and Harold divorced in 1968, and she returned to Santa Barbara, where she spent the rest of her life.

Joann’s passions were art, travel, science, nature, and her three children. Her adventures took her all over the world. Her warmth and joy drew people to her, and she made many lifelong friends in her travels.

Joann found the scientific quest exciting, and always believed that truth lay with testable facts. All of the sciences were to be savored and provided the basis for her ethic and philosophical foundation.

Throughout her life, Joann sketched, painted, sculpted, carved, and assembled art that reflected both her exceptional talents and her love of life. She was most proud of her detailed illustration “Planet Earth: A Brief History of Everything,” a spiral depiction of the evolution of life — a true blending of art and science that inspires and educates.

Other creations revealed the whimsical side of Joann. When she tooled around in her bright red VW van, she thought it would be fun to have a companion — so she made one. A lifelike dummy in a flannel shirt and sunglasses, he attracted the attention of everyone from parking attendants to the EMTs who took her on her final journey to the hospital. And her name for him? “Mort Rigor.”

Mort and so many of her creations invariably sparked curiosity and humor. Mom did these things, and many others, to engage people. These connections brightened people’s days and many times led to lasting friendships.

Joann’s demand for facts did not leave her even in her last days. She wanted to know the specifics of what happened to her and the prognosis. She wanted to know the truth, however painful, and that satisfied her. She expressed her joy and gratitude to all who came to say goodbye, and then gave her family the greatest of gifts: she was ready and at peace. Finally, with clarity and humor she said, “Let’s get this show on the road.” Who but Joann could have said that?

Joann leaves many loving family members: Hal & Micki Rounds, Jerry Rounds & Toni Stern, Teresa Rounds & Bob Dycus, two grandsons, and two great grandchildren.

Thanks to the staff at Cottage for the care given to Joann; to Sharon Graham, who graciously assisted her with the challenges of daily life; and to everyone who greeted Joann with affection even though she couldn’t remember their names. A memorial will he held at a later date. Gifts in her memory may be made to the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History or Cottage Hospital.


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