Joan-one of my favorite people of all time.


Hilberta Elizabeth (Joan) Dahlin, forever 49, of Marina del Rey, California died peacefully on August 9, 2009, with her family gathered by her side.

She was born September 26, 1924 in Tarkio, Missouri to Gertrude Leoline Kaufman and Lyman Henry Sommer.

Hilberta and her younger sister, MaryAnn, traveled the world with their parents. The Sommer girls attended boarding school in Wichita, Kansas and graduated from Holy Family High School in Glendale, California.

After graduation, with the news of Pearl Harbor, Hilberta joined the Women’s Ambulance and Defense Corps of America. She was one of the first women to become a fulltime State Guard member. Hilberta subsequently received her bachelor and her master degrees from Northwestern University in Illinois.

Hilberta met her future husband, Carl Roy Dahlin, a US Marine, at a USO dance in Santa Barbara. They married in February 1945, and settled in Santa Monica, California until they took up residence on Harding Avenue in Venice, which the family occupied for the next 50 years. Here they raised their ever-expanding family, a great source of her pride and joy.

Mrs. D, as she was known by her students, was a beloved teacher. When the youngest of her eight children entered kindergarten, Mrs. D began her long and storied career in the classroom. She touched generations of families as a 6th grade teacher at St. Mark’s Catholic School in Venice and then as a teacher and librarian at St. Monica Elementary School in Santa Monica where she remained until her retirement. Mrs. D received numerous awards and accolades for her achievements, including Outstanding Elementary School Teacher and Teacher of the Year as well as being honored for serving 54 years in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

Joan will be remembered for her strong Catholic faith, her adventurous spirit, her love of traveling (both home and abroad), her sharp sense of humor and sense of fun, her selflessness and generosity of spirit, her preservation (insistence) of correct grammatical use in the English language and the positive impact she had on the lives of countless people. She will be sorely missed and fondly remembered by all who knew and loved her.

Joan was preceded in death by her husband, Carl Roy Dahlin, her sister, Mary Ann Sommer and her granddaughter, Jennifer Dahlin.

Joan is survived by her children Roy Anthony, Karl Hilbert (Janet), Jon Kristin (Theresa), George Kurtis (Irma), Erick Joseph, Mary Leolyn Carl (Bradford), Mark Thomas (Kerry), Karin Marie Dahlin, Lisa Ann Reid (Steve), David Dahlin Glover (Vanessa), Bob Fuhrmann, 24 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren.

Joan visited my mom ,when I was taking care of her in Joplin, Mo, twice.  Both times were outrageous fun. I would take them both for rides to various parts of Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. I had to make both ride in the back seat because of the noise generated as both talked at the same time. How they ever understood each other is still a mystery to me, and one science would do well to investigate.

Joan, my mom, and two nuns toured Europe decades ago for two months. They bought a mini-van and drove it all over. I should get with my sister and write down some of their adventures, as there were many. For instance, while in Holland, they got lost, drove down the wrong road, which happened to be an exclusive bike road. They got stopped by the local gendarme, who politely escorted them to the correct road, called ahead and had the local hotel ready for them when they arrived there. Try having that done over here.

I will seriously miss her charm and sense of humor. May you rest in peace, Joan, and say hi to mom.


Filed under Life Lessons, Tributes, Woman Power

8 responses to “Joan-one of my favorite people of all time.

  1. jammer5

    In memory and with condolences to the Dahlin family.
    -Christine (Jinbo) Lennon
    St. Mark alumnus

    I just felt the need to write a few memories down of Mrs. Dahlin…

    When I was teaching sixth grade at St. Mark, in “Mrs. Dahlin’s classroom”, she was one of our Powerhouse of Prayer representatives who prayed for our class and (as my mother would say) offered up her suffering to God, for us. I never really understood that, truly, until now. I know her prayers and those of others in the Powerhouse of Prayer were a huge support for me and my classes… Now that I am no longer teaching at St. Mark, I understand even more the spiritual support, which was intangible, until it was no longer there.

    For those of you who remember… Mrs. Ekstromer (my mom, jammer), former front office secretary at St. Mark School, was the other.

    My classes would write letters to her throughout the school year and send them in big envelope. I would tell my class, “Mrs. Dahlin was a teacher here at St. Mark, so be sure your penmanship is perfect and your grammar is to have no mistakes! Not really for their sake.. really, so I wouldn’t get a talkin’ to! Even years after Mrs. Dahlin was no longer teaching, she had an influence on my students and on me.

    She came to visit my classroom and talked to my class. She said, “When I taught in here, my desk was back there (by the windows), and I taught from here (where the coat room was) and there were 55 students in rows like this,” she pointed towards the windows that faced Coeur d’Alene. That is right about the time I stopped complaining about managing 36!

    My students would wave to her and say hello when they saw her in church at the Friday school masses. Usually, the Power House of Prayer representative moved with the class, but she was different. We felt close to her and instead of passing her on with my students, we kept her in sixth grade. She was and always will be special to St. Mark and to sixth grade.

    Sincere Condolences,
    Kris Dahlin
    KD Associates

  2. wicked

    That’s my kind of teacher! May she find Heaven heavenly. 🙂

    • jammer5

      Of that, I have no doubt. My guess is St Peter has ordered hearing protection for whenever he’s too close to mom and Joan 🙂

  3. I’m sorry that you lost your friend, teacher, mentor, and I’m happy you had her in your life.

  4. Thanks for sharing this, Jammer.

    Best to you…

  5. We come here to bury Joan…

  6. Roy Anthony Dahlin has not existed since birth in reality, legally since July 19, 1965. Apparently they don’t know or even care! Tony Dahlin AKA Roy Anthony Dahlin 07/18/1947 to 07/19/1947. I like accuracy! Tony Dahlin