Joan M. Dobbs, nee Mooney

Joan Dobbs

Joan M. Dobbs was born March 25, 1943 in Chicago, the youngest of three children to parents James S and Doris (Lozo) Mooney. She was a life-long Chicagoan and an avowed Catholic.

She grew up attending Catholic grade schools and graduated from Mount Assisi High School in 1961. That year she met David Dobbs on a blind date, and when their relationship got serious, David enlisted in the Air Force and was eventually stationed at Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane, WA. They married on February 8, 1964 at St. Daniel the Prophet in Chicago, and then returned to Spokane, where Joan found employment with a finance company. After David’s four-year enlistment, they moved back to Chicago. Babies were born, in short order: Shonagh (born in Spokane), Kelly, and Tracy. Joan shepherded them through Catholic schools (St. Rene, St. Barbara, St. Ignatius College Prep), instilling in them the importance of educational excellence. She towed the kids around as she delivered Meals on Wheels to seniors in the region, modeling her dedication to community service.

In 1976, Joan and David moved the family from the southwest side of Chicago to Brookfield. Not long after she took a job at the First National Bank of Brookfield, where she worked for the rest of her professional life. A favorite family pastime was sailing on Lake Michigan on a 22-foot sailboat.

Joan and David became interested in cross-country skiing, and greatly enjoyed twenty years of getting out into the Chicago forest preserves and traveling to other states and even Canada. They joined a cross-country ski club that took them to significant places like Yellowstone National Park, Lake Taho, NV, Glacier National Park, MT, and annually to the Upper Peninsula in Michigan. They forged many friendships on those trips.

Joan discovered a love of Irish folk music in the early ‘70s, and began following Tommy Makem and the Clancy Brothers. A three-week trip to Ireland, without the kids, in 1972 became the impetus for later trips to Irish fests around the United States and music tours in Ireland. After the kids were out of the house, Joan and David began to seek out not just local Irish fests but those in more far-flung locales, forging friendships with other fans. Additionally they accompanied friends on two Irish music cruises, one to the Caribbean and one to Alaska. Joan became a solid groupie of Rory Makem, showing up wherever he was playing and making sure to arrive early enough to claim front-row seats. One highlight was when, during the pandemic when the dearth of live music began to wear on Joan’s psyche, Rory put on an intimate house concert, held outside and socially distanced, at a friend’s residence.

She was a stalwart Cubs fan who stuck by the team even after the playoff debacle in ‘69. David’s employment with Delta allowed them to travel standby to cities where the Cubs were playing. They travelled to spring training in Arizona several times with friends Germaine and Dave, making sure to attend the games that featured more of the regulars than the rookies. At one “old timers” game Joan wrangled a photo op wherein she was flanked by Billy Williams and Fergie Jenkins. She was a devotee of announcers Ron Santo and Pat Hughes, and at spring training games she made trips to the announcer’s booth to socialize with them. Once she procured tickets to a game at Wrigley for Shonagh and the grandkids, but mid game the weather turned rainy. They stayed put in their seats, donning rain ponchos and watching the grounds crew roll out the tarp. Joan said, “I’ve always wanted to be one of the crazy people waiting in the pouring rain for the game to start up again.”

Joan believed horses to be the most beautiful creations on God’s green earth. When she was young her father occasionally took her to a stable so she could ride horses, but as she grew older city life didn’t often afford her that opportunity. Eventually her need for speed was addressed by cars (and an occasional motorcycle ride). In family lore, one knew that if the family was late for an engagement, then Joan would be the one doing the driving.

Joan dedicated summers to raising vegetables in her backyard garden—tomatoes, beans, broccoli, herbs, corn—in her quest to grow food for eating fresh as well as for putting up for the winter. This involved a constant battle with rodents and rabbits bent on making her garden their own personal smorgasbord. Roses were her favorite flowers to grow and enjoy, and she went to great lengths to protect them from insects, deer, diseases, and hard frosts.

Joan enjoyed spending time in the kitchen, particularly to bake. Joan began a tradition of decorating homemade Christmas cookies with the girls early on. Over time that tradition expanded until the house turned into a cookie factory during the holidays, with all hands baking, decorating, and delivering up to ten different kinds of cookies to friends and neighbors. She enjoyed making Irish soda bread, and often sent loaves to her children at college, to neighbors and friends, and also to certain Irish musicians.

She had one dog in her life, Kelly, her dad’s dog, which biased her against any other dog thereafter. But she was a cat lover, and not only cared for several family cats over the years, but harbored neighborhood cats, chumming them with treats on the back porch.

She loved Diet Pepsi, strong tea, cotton candy, Fannie Mae buttercreams, Depression-era glass and antiquing with David, W.B. Yeats, Ray Bradbury, Star Trek, restoring old woodwork, sewing, being in the woods, Buddy Holly, Credence Clearwood Revival, Civic Orchestra concerts, riding bicycles, propagating house plants, crossword puzzles, and Guinness.

She is survived by her husband of 59 years, David, brothers James [Mary] Mooney, Mike [Judy] Mooney, daughters Shonagh [Michael] Preston, Kelly [Jeff] Mickus, Tracy Dobbs, grandchildren Melissa [Curtis] Heying and Kaylin Preston, great-grandchild Emmett, and many nieces and nephews and their families. Many thanks to the family and friends who assisted during Joan’s final days: Caregiver Eva, Niece Judy [Joe] Trisilla, Laura Stover, Germaine St. Germaine, Phil Vettel, Jeff Mickus.

Visitation will be held on Saturday, August 26, 2023 from 9 A.M. to time of Mass 10 A.M. at St. Mary Church, 126 Herrick Rd. Riverside IL 60546

Inurnment St. Mary Cemetery, Evergreen Park.

In lieu of flowers, Memorials appreciated to the Missionary Society of St. Columban, 1902 N. Calhoun St. Columbans, NE 68056

Arrangements entrusted to Hitzeman Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 9445 W. 31st Street, Brookfield, IL 60513.

Information 708-485-2000 or

For those of you that would like to express your condolences to the family, please click on the link below and you can leave the family a message. If you wish to send a sympathy card to the family, please feel free to send it to Hitzeman Funeral Home, 9445 West 31st Street, Brookfield, IL 60513, c/o Joan Dobbs Family. We will gladly forward it on to the family.

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Messages of Condolence

  1. Jodie condolence:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I’ve enjoyed meeting up with her at Irish Fests and the occasional Cubs game. I will miss seeing her.

  2. James Mooney condolence:

    She will be sorely missed by a lot of people. The suddenness of her passing may make healing for many very difficult, but she is in a better place than she has been in recent days. May God cherish her soul and comfort David, Kelly, Shonagh, and Tracy and their families.
    Mary &Jim Mooney

  3. Terrie McLean condolence:

    My heart is heavy with Joan’s passing and I will always remember her kindness in sharing fresh baked Irish soda bread and goodies from her garden and most of all her visits to smell the flowers in my front yard and the neighborly chats. I send my deepest sympathies.

  4. Susan Silhan condolence:

    We are so sorry to hear about Joan.
    My daughters Shari and Denise as well as I had the pleasure to work with her.
    I will miss seeing her at the bank.
    Sincerely, Susan Silhan

  5. Mark Yurkiw condolence:

    Very sorry for your loss. I worked with Joan for many years. She was a wonderful lady and I loved her.

  6. Linda Sherwin condolence:

    I’m so very sorry to hear of Joan’s passing I had the great pleasure of working with her at the bank. Shared many wonderful stories she gave, from the Cubs, to her love of anything Irish. I have wonderful memories of working with her.
    Linda Sherwin

  7. Kimberly Carlson condolence:

    Kelly and family,
    I am truly sorry for your loss. The memories and love that you all have for Joan, holds so much power, hold them close to your heart and you will feel her with you always! My Prayers and deepest sympathy are with you. Kimberly Carlson

  8. Heather McGovern condolence:

    A wonderful tribute to Joan who established some memorable family traditions. I will miss her terribly at Irish Fests and concerts in addition to Cub games. My condolences to her family and friends.

  9. Liz Theyssen condolence:

    Kelly and Family – You are in my prayers during this difficult time. My sincerest condolences on your loss.
    God Bless,

  10. Albina and Frank Gorski condolence:

    Please accept our Condolences

    David,Shonagh,Kelly,Tracy and family so sorry to hear about your loss and our loss. Joan was a special person making everyone around her feel good and happy. Joan touched everyone’s heart with her smile and outlook of life.Will always love and treasure you Joan and thanks for giving all those happy times to your friends.

  11. Julie and Joe Glista condolence:

    Being neighbors for almost 30 years, we were rewarded with Joan’s generosity,humor and common sense solutions. Her sense of joy was as big as her love for her family and her faith. We send our deepest condolences to you, Dave, the girls and their families.

  12. Barbara A Prack condolence:

    My deepest sympathy to Joan’s family. What a wonderful woman she was to all she knew.
    May the memories each one has bring moments of joy during this difficult time.

  13. Dria Ridenour condolence:

    I just learned of Joan’s passing and wish to express my condolences to Dave and her family. In the last few years, Ron and I have missed seeing Dave and Joan on our annual trips to Ironwood. We enjoyed many trips with them to Yellowstone, Canada, Washington State and the UP. Joan was always a lovely, warm person with a great sense of humor. May she rest in peace after a life well lived and loved by many.
    Dria Ridenour

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