MOUNT CARROLL—Joan Hough, beloved mother, Oma and teacher, died peacefully Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, at Big Meadows Nursing Home in Savanna with her three daughters at her side. She bravely battled disease for many years and can now rest.
Joan was born Feb. 4, 1932, in Clinton, Iowa, and attended Mount Carroll High School before obtaining a degree in Liberal Arts from the University of Illinois in Champaign.
After working for Marshall Fields in Chicago, she married Ralph Hough and returned to Mount Carroll to raise her daughters.
After obtaining her teaching certification from Shimer College, Joan began teaching in Mount Carroll schools in 1965, impacting 100s of students with her love of learning. She took her teaching skills overseas in 1981, teaching for the government DODDS program in Iceland, Germany, and Belgium respectively.
Joan finally retired in 1998 after 33 years in education and spent the next three years in Texas with her daughter, Sarah. In 2002, Joan returned to Mount Carroll and spent her final working years as director of the Carnegie Library in Mount Carroll before ill health forced her into retirement in 2008.
Joan was a modern day Renaissance woman. She loved literature, travel and classical music. Her knowledge was as broad as it was varied, from the constellations in the night sky to the names of traditional African singers. She loved her travels in Europe and continued to explore and learn until the end of her life.
Joan loved to laugh and her wit and mischievous streak kept people both laughing and on their toes at the same time. Her passion for her work combined with her high standards and expectations could make her a taskmaster for some. Anyone who really knew her though knew that Joan did everything with committed gusto and kept her highest expectations for herself. Her work ethic kept her committed to her job long after many others would have retired to a comfortable life.
Teaching was a particular passion and Joan claimed her teaching certification from Shimer as one of her proudest achievements. She was unconventional, often straying from the curriculum and finding more creative ways to engage students in ways that impacted them far beyond the classroom. It was testimony to her impact that not only did she maintain and re-establish contact with students throughout her lifetime but the thing her daughters heard most when they returned to visit Mount Carroll was “Your Mom was my favorite teacher.” Her advocacy of students and sharp mind were a powerful combination, and she changed the lives of hundreds as a result.
She is survived by her daughters, Susan (Bill) Whitehead, Sarah (Jim) Boykin and Elizabeth Hough; her grandchildren, Christopher, Katherine, Trevor, Davis and Connor Boykin; one aunt, Mary (Mae) Robbe; one cousin, Thomas Robbe; one brother-in-law, Ron (Carol) Holmes; two nephews, Steve and Jeff; her ex-husband and continued friend, Ralph; and numerous members of the extended Robbe/Neuschwanger family throughout the area.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Wilma and Irv Rush; one brother, David; and a sister, Carol.
Joan continues to educate as her body was donated to facilitate research into supranuclear palsy and COPD, the diseases that took her life.
There will be a memorial celebration of her life in the early summer when family can all be together and an announcement will be made at that time.
Donations can be made to Big Meadows Nursing Home, 1000 Longmoor Ave, Savanna, Ill., 61074 to help their funding for a defibrillator.