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Joan Frances (Mitchell) McFetridge

Joan McFetridge passed away due to complications from dementia on June 27, 2020.

Joan was born in Somerville, Massachusetts, on November 19, 1931, to George and Helen (Murphy) Mitchell. She graduated from Cambridge Latin High School near Boston in 1949. Joan did not attend college and worked in various jobs, including as an operator for Bell Telephone Company in Boston. In 1953, her life took an adventurous turn when American Airlines selected her to become a stewardess. She received her training from American in Dallas, Texas, and flew all over the country when air travel was not nearly as common as it is today. When flying for American Airlines, Joan flew with numerous celebrities and sports legends, including Joe Torre and Warren Spahn. In 1957, she was posted in San Francisco, where she met her husband, Edward McFetridge, who had just graduated from University of San Francisco School of Law.

After initially settling in San Francisco and having two sons, James and Matthew, Joan and Ed decided to escape the fog of the Richmond District and rent a house in Belveron Gardens in 1963. When the house next door came on the market for $14,000, they immediately made an offer and made Tiburon their permanent home, where Joan resided for the next 42 years. A third son, Andrew, was born in 1964. The McFetridges joined the Tiburon Peninsula Club and were active parishioners at St. Hilary Catholic Church.

Although arcane airline rules required stewardesses to leave their employment upon marriage, Joan stayed active with American’s alumni association, known as The Kiwis; in the early 1970s she rejoined American Airlines as a part-time sales representative and continued working in that capacity until 2002. This job enabled Joan and her family to take multiple “non-revenue” trips on American and other airlines.

Sadly, she was widowed in 1991, but she had a solid network of friends and neighbors along with her family who kept her life full of activities and events. She also continued her friendships with American Airlines colleagues whom she flew with in the 1950s. She loved being a doting grandmother to her three grandchildren.

Due to increasing difficulties with the gradual onset of dementia, in 2015, Joan relocated to Sacramento where James and his wife could arrange for the constant care that was necessary. Joan resided at Mercy McMahon Terrace in East Sacramento and made many friends there.

A private family mass has been held at Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church in Carmichael, California. Joan will be buried next to her husband’s grave at the Presidio National Cemetery in San Francisco. Joan’s favorite charity where tax-deductible donations in her name can be sent is Oaks of Hebron, 6950 Commerce Blvd. Suite 7, Rohnert Park, CA 94928.

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