Obituary of Joan Stacey Ogner
Joan Stacey Ogner passed away on February 4, 2024 following a courageous two-year-long battle with cancer.
She was born in Los Angeles, California on March 8, 1954. She studied political science and biology at UCLA and earned a BS in health administration from Cal State Northridge.
Joan had a long and successful career in health management. In Los Angeles, she was project manager over the construction of a large medical facility. She was proudest of her work at an HIV clinic where she ran the largest HIV care and research study in the early days of the AIDS epidemic. Joan cared about each of the clinic’s HIV clients when so many others rejected them.
Nearly 30 years ago she moved to Denver where she traveled as a consultant for hospitals and large practices. Poor health ultimately led to her early retirement. Ever resilient, Joan vigorously embarked on a volunteer career in animal advocacy and saving cats.
If there is a rainbow bridge, a place where people imagine their pet animals go after death and where they will eventually be reunited, it is a joyful place now that Joan has arrived.She will be with her beloved cats Nat the Cat, Rocky and Reina and their many feline predecessors.
She will be surrounded by thousands of cats she helped through Colorado Cats in Need, which she co-created and managed. The platform, with over 12,000 followers, most often provides support in emergency rehoming.
Joining her will be many hundreds of dogs and cats she helped through her work with No Kill Colorado (NKC) which helps to save homeless pets through innovative programs and unwavering advocacy. She served as its founding member, first Vice President, and second President.
Joan endlessly campaigned for saving treatable cats that were in greater danger when homeless. She focused primarily on saving diabetic and senior kitties through funding, networking, foster and adoption. She was known by multiple area shelters and rescue as a feline diabetes guru; she saved countless diabetic cats' lives by reducing the stress associated with adopting or fostering a diabetic cat
She was a leader in the Purrito Project, which provided bottle baby sweaters for neonatal kittens.
Joan and NKC created the Colorado Cats in Need Fund to help with Spay/Neuter, Trap, Neuter and Release (TNR) of feral cats and medical treatment for those in need. It has now been renamed the Joan Ogner Colorado Cats in Need Fund.
Joan thrived in Denver, where she was continually inspired by the beauty and proximity of the Rocky Mountains. She even named her first cat here 'Rocky.' She loved and appreciated her Mile High City, and made friends easily with open hearted neighbors, colleagues and many others who crossed her path.
Joan felt fulfilled with her life in Denver. If there was anything she was missing it was living near her family. She adored her cousins, nieces and nephews. Much of her childhood and teenage years in Los Angeles were spent hanging around and traveling about with her sidekicks, her cousins Sue and Margo. Joan spent every holiday and most weekends with mom Goldye and her two eldest nieces Elizabeth and Jenny. Joan and her nieces shared a special connection, a sisterly bond, which endured through the years despite their geographical distance from one another. Joan was a proud and loving aunt and cousin.
A huge football enthusiast, she became a passionate and unwavering fan of the Denver Broncos and also cheered on the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Rockies. Nothing quite got her spirit going like football, however.
Joan was a bona-fide bookworm; her genre of choice was murder mysteries. Any time you visited her, you would find a mountain of novels she was working her way through.
She was drawn to the whimsical, from her distinctive fashion and jewelry sense to her many trinkets and colorful pops of interior flair. She treasured and nourished her lush balcony garden full of favorite seasonal plants and flowers.
Joan loved music, traveling, and breaking bread with family and friends. For her, there was nothing like a good meal: Chinese, Mexican ( Chipotle!), pizza, and bagels and lox were among some of her life-long favorites.
Today there are many grieving family members and friends including Karin, who has been her close friend for 20 years and remained by her side throughout her cancer journey, Joan’s devoted boyfriend Michael, and medical and veterinary professionals who cared deeply about Joan. They will miss her wit, vivacity, intelligence, and dedication to helping cats.
Cancer did not keep Joan from living life as best she could in her two years of dealing with it.
One friend wrote on Joan’s Facebook page, “I always admired and appreciated the way Joan approached physical limitations; she did not deny that she was suffering at times, but she so naturally and authentically focused on what she could still do and enjoy with the time and energy that she had.”
It was a priority for Joan to show her friends how much she valued them. Usually food was involved. For instance, she had a lunch party for her oncology nurses. She provided a stash of ice cream sandwiches for a friend who would help feed her cat or pick up pain meds when Joan couldn’t.
She made fudge to thank her apartment complex manager for exceeding her duties to help Joan. Friends driving her to chemo were always treated to Mexican food afterward.
Joan's laugh and good cheer were contagious and her zest for life was always an inspiration. We loved and appreciated her so much. She will be missed by all who knew her and knew of her.
Joan was predeceased by parents Stanley Ogner, Goldye Ogner (nee Winnick) and sister Caryn McCoun (nee Ogner).
She is survived by her beloved cat Batman, her nieces Elizabeth McCoun, Jennifer McCoun and Kathleen McCoun, her nephew Ronald McCoun, her grand-niece Teyla and great-nephews Kian and Jackson, and her cousins Margo Goldstein, Sue Grinspan, Lauren Jacobs-Smith, Ashley DiGiacomo, and Robert Ogner.
Donations in memory of Joan may be made to the Joan Ogner Colorado Cats in Need Fund, benefitting No Kill Colorado.
A funeral service honoring Joan's life will be held Friday, February 16, 2024; at 12:00pm, at Temple Micah in Denver with interment to follow at Emanuel Cemetery. Livestream available on Feldman Mortuary's Youtube Channel at the time of the service.
The family of Joan will be sitting shiva after the service:
Location: At the home of Barbara Millman
Address: 2069 Garland St Lakewood, CO 80215
Date: February 16, 2024
Time: Immediately following interment until 5:00 PM