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Joan Rose Turk, UW Madison 1967 alumna, passed away in Chicago at age 75

Joan Rose Turk, a long-time resident of Hyde Park, Chicago, died peacefully in her Lincoln Park apartment on April 16, 2020 at the age of 75.

Joan was born to Fred Turk and Adeline Turk, nee Behringer, on September 8, 1944 in Milwaukee, WI. She was confirmed at Ascension Lutheran Church, graduated from South Division High School in 1962 where she played clarinet, and earned her BA from the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 1967.

Joan’s career in accounting began at the Wisconsin Public Service Commission. She subsequently worked at Yale University, the University of Chicago, and the Institute for Psychoanalysis. Later in life, Joan served as a financial administrator for a number of Chicago-based non-profit organizations, including the McCormick Foundation, the Pullman Foundation, and Affinity Community Services.

Joan was a life-long Democrat, a passionate advocate for women and minorities, and an outspoken feminist. She was a long-time member of the Art Institute and subscriber to Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. She had a passion for architecture and history and found an outlet for both in the Society for Commercial Archaeology. Her many years of friendship, local engagement, and support led to her participation in the Village to Village network, both in Hyde Park and Lincoln Park.

Joan was an unwavering Cubs Fan and was one of the first ever to receive an MBA (Master of Beer Appreciation) from Goose Island Beer Company. She was a lover of marching bands, mini golf, public gardens, parades, fireworks, and long cycling trips. An avid collector, Joan proudly exhibited her famous Santa collection in her home every year at Christmas and decorated her beloved Wisconsin Dells hideaway in a theme of bright red cherries.

Joan is survived by her beloved son Trevor Turk (Lauren Wolf) and granddaughter Florence “Effie” Turk of Chicago, IL and her dear brother Fred J. Turk (Margaret Turk) of St. Paul, MN as well as her many family members, friends, and coworkers from all over the country and the world.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, a memorial will be held next year. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in Joan’s name to the Chicago Foundation for Women and Affinity Community Services, two organizations that were near and dear to Joan’s heart.

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Leah Hunter ’05 has joined the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as associate commissioner for external affairs, where she oversees agency-wide communications activities regarding the FDA’s public health and regulatory activities.