Remembering Joani Gudeman (1964-2014)

Joani was a wonderful advocate; she's shown here participating in a 2013 video

Joani was a wonderful advocate; she’s shown here participating in a 2013 video

We are sorry to share that our friend and fellow board member Joani Gudeman died Friday, July 25, 2014 at age 50.  There will be a memorial service for Joani at Chicago Sinai Congregation, 15 W Delaware Place, Chicago on Friday, August 15 at 10 a.m. All are invited.

 

Joani told her story as the one of the patient introducers at MBCN’s 2013 conference in Houston. “I’m Joani,” she said. “I’m a wife, mother of two teenage boys, a dog lover, mystery reader, a vegetarian, trained listener, board member of MBCN and a person with metastatic breast cancer.”

 

In those few sentences, Joani set out her priorities: family first and cancer last. It is also telling that, with typical modesty, Joani referred to herself as a trained listener. Until recently, Joani was a practicing psychotherapist.

 

Originally from the Northeast, Joani came to the Midwest to attend Lawrence University in Wisconsin. From there, she went on to Chicago to attend the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago and the Illinois Institute of Professional Psychology.

 

Although her official capacity with MBCN was Chair of Outreach and Volunteers, she also served in an unofficial capacity as a diplomat, consensus builder and in-house counselor. She patiently assessed and addressed the issue at hand. If the solution meant extra work for her—such as painstakingly reviewing and revising a lengthy and technical patient publication, she neither complained nor sought the accolades she deserved. She just did it.

 

“Our work together has helped me in so many ways,” Joani told us a few weeks ago. “Not only have I learned so much from each of your incredible talents and skills, I have been touched by your passion, love and commitment.  Working with you all gave me purpose, provided needed distraction and pushed me to expand myself in new ways.”

 

Joani touched us all in so many ways. In one of my last email exchanges with her, I told Joani I was thinking of her as I wrestled with some outreach tasks she previously handled. As I dealt with one particularly challenging call, I had to contain my impatience. I told Joani I needed a WWJD bracelet: What Would Joani Do?

 

That is a question we will be asking ourselves often in the weeks and months to come. Our heartfelt condolences to David, Jacob and Samuel and all of Joani’s family and friends.

 

–Katherine O’Brien
Secretary
MBCN

 

Interment will be private. A public service celebrating Joani’s  life will be held shortly. We will  share the information when we receive it.

Advertisements

2 Responses to Remembering Joani Gudeman (1964-2014)

  1. Johnna Marcil Eck says:

    God bless you, Joani! We love you and miss you! God bless your famiy, too! You are all in my prayers daily!

  2. Leah Scheff says:

    Rest in Peace Joani and may you be free of pain.
    I am so sad to share that my sister, Lynn Hybbert (age 66) and best friend, passed away on July 20th, 2014 of MBC. Lynn and I attended the 2013 conference in Houston and we both listened to Joani tell her story. I’m so sad to hear Joani lost her fight also. I loved my sister so much and the pain I am going though without Lynn is unbearable for me at this time. Sympathy to Joani’s family.
    May Lynn and Joani Rest in Peace and be Free of Pain!
    Leah Scheff
    Tucson AZ

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: