Mary "Joan" Zirbel

Born in Fort Dodge, IA
Born on Mar 15, 1927
Departed on Jan 13, 2021

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Mary “Joan” Zirbel, 93, of Cedar Rapids passed away on January 13, 2021 at Unity Point Hospice Center in Cedar Rapids flowing an extended illness.

Joan was born on March 15, 1927 in Fort Dodge, Iowa, the only child of Albert Tanner Bean and Mary Etta Westercamp Bean. She was a graduate of Roosevelt High School in Des Moines and graduated with a teacher’s certificate from Drake University where she was an active in the Delta Gamma Sorority. While at Drake she met Robert (Bob) Zirbel; the love of her life. They were married in 1949 and shared 68 incredible years. Twenty of those years were spent in Hot Springs Village, Arkansas after Bob’s retirement. They moved back to Cedar Rapids in 2007 to be close to family and were happy again to be in their former ‘hometown.’

Joan was an avid reader; she loved to travel, and garden, and had an absolute blast playing golf, tennis and bridge with friends she adored. In her later years when asked, “Do you miss playing golf?” she’d answer, “Every day.” 

My mom was the queen of camp out cooking, making home churned ice cream, and teaching me how to parallel park. She agreed to see all the scary movies with me when no one else would go, and taught me to deal with the fact that “life isn’t fair.” Thank you, Mom, for being the best mother I could have ever wished for. I will miss you every day.

Joan was preceded in death by her husband Bob in 2016 and leaves behind her only daughter, Ann (Fritz) Paulson of Marion, a grandson, Tanner Paulson of Sun Prairie, Wisconsin and step-grandson, Tad Paulson of Iowa City. She is also survived by her sister-in-law, Linda Diefendorf of Colorado and the many nieces and nephews she treasures.

My mom will be remembered for her courage, independence, warmth, and sense of humor. For her ability to always find the happiness in life, and for her beautiful blue eyes!

A private family service and interment will be held Saturday, January 16th at Cedar Memorial. A celebration of Joan’s life will be held at a later date. 

Special thanks to the Unity Point Hospice Team for the wonderful care they provided Joan during this past year. We couldn’t have made it without you.