Joan Trautman Crawford

Date of Birth

June 3, 1927

Date of Death

June 10, 2020

City of Death

Santa Barbara

Joan Trautman Crawford passed away peacefully at Mission Terrace in Santa Barbara, California on June 10, 2020. She had recently celebrated her 93rd birthday and expressed her gratitude for her family and the fortunate life she lived.

Joan was born on June 3, 1927 in Ontario, California to parents Cecelia O’Neill Trautman and Newton Ellsworth Trautman. She grew up with her brother and sister Gerald and Janette in the warm California sun. She learned tap dancing and flamenco, acted in plays and began her lifelong focus on drawing and painting.

She and her family made many summer trips to Laguna Beach where they had a house at Victoria Cove. The summer of 1948 was one to remember. Joan’s mother noticed a handsome young man watching Joan play beach volleyball from behind a paperback book. She invited him down to the shoreline to play with Joan’s young nephews — and by the way, to meet Joan.

A year later, Joan married Bill Crawford, but not before graduating from Stanford with a degree in fine arts. They moved to the University of Missouri where Bill completed his degree in journalism on the GI Bill and Joan pursued a master’s degree in art.

Their early years of married life were spent in Texas where they started a family. In 1965, they moved to California when Bill bought his first car dealership.

Joan continued to draw, paint and sculpt with an emphasis on figurative works. She was a major fan of contemporary architecture and midcentury furniture, and collected designers such as Charles and Ray Eames and Eero Saarinen.

In 1985, she and Bill began envisioning where they would retire, and chose Santa Barbara. They also started the process of designing a house, and decided on a young cutting-edge firm Morphosis as the architects. The result was a bold, ingeniously sited contemporary home which provided unending satisfaction and pleasure. She also designed several pieces of furniture that matched the originality of their home.

Joan was an avid reader, especially of the New York Times and Art in America. She was passionate about the Contemporary Arts Forum and supporting local artists. She loved food as well as cookbooks by Julia Child and Silver Palate.

Joan is survived by her husband of 71 years, Bill, daughters Sheridan (and husband Laury Wolfe), and Susan (and husband Gregg Goggin) and grandchildren Ian, Taylor, Cory, Julia, Erik, Ingrid and Kelly. Her son, Bill, predeceased her.

A small family service was held. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to Food Bank of Santa Barbara County or Planned Parenthood.


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