MRS. MAGIC, JOAN MCCLENAHAN Joan Ellen Simpson (Baker) McClenahan passed away January 20, 2021, from complications of a stroke. She was born March 27, 1943, to Rev. Thomas Porter Simpson (19071963) of Knoxville, TN, and Alice Anna Sunderland (19111995) of Cleveland, OH. She was a 1961 graduate of Newark (OH) High School, Ohio State University (BS Social Welfare, 1965), and The University of Georgia, where she received her Master's in Social Work, 1980. Joan was a lifelong Episcopalian and a member of her father's church in Newark, OH, Trinity Episcopal; St. Bede's Episcopal in Tucker, GA; and All Saints Episcopal in Las Vegas. She was proud to be an active member of "Daughters of Christ the King" for many years. She generously donated her time, talent, and treasure by serving on the Vestry committee, organized donations for a local middle school, a Food Pantry volunteer, and adopting needy families at Christmas. She had a love of music, participated in choirs, school musicals, played organ and piano for church, and brought music into the home. She was supportive of any musical endeavors of her sons, even if it was much "louder and rockier" than she wanted! She was the family archivist who shared cherished family history and documented gatherings. Her journals are priceless. A common picture of Joan would be her on the couch with a book. She read widely and oraciouslyhuman psychology, biographies, religion, and fiction. She liked it all. During her last decade, she read the entire Bible every year. Joan valued good conversation, and the more laughter the better. She delighted in her friends throughout all seasons of life. Pictures spanning her life are filled with her genuine, affectionate smile surrounded by friends and family. Her life as a social worker kept her involved with people in need. Whether the need was economic, battling a chronic illness, or mourning the death of a loved one, she brought empathy and kindness. She had the ability to sympathize with all types of suffering, with the loss of her father while still in college, the loss of her own child as an infant, and her first husband (Brooke Baker) to cancer at 50. Social work was her calling. She found another passion later in life. She and her husband, John McClenahan (m. 1997), became "Doctor & Mrs. Magic". They combined John's lifelong love of magic, with Joan's altruistic spirit, into the service of nearly 15 years in Las Vegas hospitals. They brought laughter and fun to children battling terminal illnesses (and their parents), with long hospital stays. Both received numerous awards for their service. In addition, Joan was a volunteer with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Force and helped Mr. Safe-T (John) teach safety subjects to children using magic as the medium. She adored her five grandchildren: Caroline, Will, Emily, Daniel, and Kirsten. She supported their education, passed on her passion of the piano, and just loved to spoil them! She was preceded in death by son, Thomas Price Baker (19691972); and first husband, Joseph Brooke Baker (1941-1991). Joan leaves behind her husband, John McClenahan (1943- ) of Las Vegas (m. 1997); a brother, Leslie Ernest Simpson (1939- ), and his daughter Alison Simpson, of Philadelphia; sons Daniel of Cary, NC (wife Anne, children Caroline, William, Emily, Daniel, Kirsten) and Peter of Charlotte, NC (wife Ellen), and a step-son; Jeff McClenahan of Temecula, CA. Memorial will be Sunday, Feb. 14, at 4 p.m. at All Saints Episcopal Church, 4201 W. Washington Ave., Las Vegas, NV 89107. Burial will be March 27, 2021 in Newark, Ohio. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation of Nevada8990 W Spanish Ridge Ave, Las Vegas, NV 89148, (702) 737-1919.
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Published by Las Vegas Review-Journal on Feb. 12, 2021.