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Joan D. Larkin

Obituary for Joan D. Larkin

March 23, 1928 - January 9, 2019
McHenry, Illinois | Age 90


Joan D. Larkin, 90, of McHenry, passed away peacefully in her sleep on January 9, 2019 after complications from pneumonia. She will be greatly missed by a very large circle of family and friends.
A lifelong resident of McHenry, Joan was born on March 23, 1928 in Chicago, IL to Harry and Elvera Durland. She graduated from McHenry Community High School in 1946, and married Gerald Larkin on June 2, 1951. For many years she worked at Nye Drug Store in McHenry as Bookkeeper. She was a Girl Scout Leader, a member of St. Mary's Ladies Guild, a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and did volunteer work for the McHenry Hospital Auxiliary.
When her husband Gerald was afflicted with ALS in 1972 and the disease progressed, Joan lovingly cared for him in their home for the duration of the disease, which lasted an astounding 23 years. Her devotion to his care served as an inspiration and example to everyone of how a caring and selfless life is lived.
In later years she attained the level of Vice President at McHenry Savings Bank, before retiring to a well-deserved life of traveling with friends and family, and enjoying time with her children and their fast-growing families. She attended countless sporting events and school programs involving her seventeen grandchildren, and in recent years has especially enjoyed the company of her twelve great-grandchildren, who called her "Gigi." All her grandchildren fondly remember being taught how to play "Kings in the Corner" and being offered sweet treats whenever they visited Grandma (though everyone suspects those treats were REALLY satisfying her own famous sweet tooth!). She also especially looked forward to her annual summer trips "Up North" with her children and their families.
She maintained a close circle of many lifelong friends, including a group of eight to ten of her classmates from the "Class of '46" who still get together for lunch on a monthly basis more than 70 years after they graduated, and a weekly bridge club that meets every Thursday for lunch, followed by an afternoon session of friendship and bridge.
Joan was also an example of tenacity and determination when faced with the obstacles of life. In addition to helping her husband fight and prolong his battle with disease, Joan herself has overcome cancer (lymphoma) four different times since she turned 65! Each time, she bravely faced the diagnosis and treatments with a positive and determined attitude, saying "This too shall pass," which became the motto for her children to repeat whenever faced with the hardships of their lives. Her religious faith carried her through these times and set a strong example for all who watched her overcome the challenges in her life.
She was a member of St. Mary Catholic Church in McHenry.
She is survived by her children: Nancy Cook, Sally Hodge, Jerry (Melinda) Larkin, Ann (Frank) Cuda, and Julie (Tom) Sharp; son-in-law John Smith; her sisters Mary Durland and Mitzi Griffith; her 17 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.
Joan was preceded in death by her parents, Harry and Elvera Durland, her husband Gerald Larkin, her sister Jane Kidder, her daughter Janet Smith, and her son-in-law Nick Hodge.
Visitation will be held Sunday, January 13 from 2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Colonial Funeral Home, 591 Ridgeview Drive, McHenry, IL 60050. The funeral mass will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, January 14 at St. Mary Catholic Church, 1401 N. Richmond Road in McHenry. Interment will be in St. Mary Cemetery in McHenry.
Memorial contributions may be made in Joan's name to the Les Turner ALS Foundation, the American Cancer Society, or Journey Care.
Arrangements by Colonial Funeral Home in McHenry. For information, phone 815-385-0063 or email

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Colonial Funeral Home & Crematory

591 Ridgeview Drive
McHenry, IL 60050
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