1941 - 2003
FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS
A state legislator, state party chairperson, advisor to presidential and vice-presidential candidates, national women's rights strategist, and women's health innovator, Joanne Symons worked throughout her career to facilitate and encourage women's voices to be heard. She believed that women should follow their dreams and strive to reach their professional and personal potential.
As a wife, mother, grandmother, friend, colleague, and mentor, Joanne offered the strength of her convictions combined with a non-judgmental, open mind, heart, and ear to all the people whose lives she touched.
A graduate of Brooklyn College, Joanne began her political career as an activist in the 1960s. She was elected to the New Hampshire House of Representatives in 1974, where she was named Assistant Democratic Leader. In 1977, rose to become the first woman ever to be elected chairperson of a New Hampshire political party.
In 1981, Joanne moved to Washington and became political director for the American Nurses Association.
Joanne founded Symons Public Affairs in the late 1980's, specializing in consulting services to improve women's health. Among her many accomplishments as a consultant, Joanne established a coalition of more than 100 national groups concerned about osteoporosis, supported the founding of the National Breast Cancer Coalition, and helped develop national programs on topics ranging from at-risk pregnancies to child nutrition, reproductive health and the uninsured.
Joanne's pride and joy was her family. She was married to Alan Symons for 39 years. They have two sons, Noel and Jeremy, and three grandchildren.
The granddaughter of Jewish immigrants who fled persecution in turn-of-the-century Europe, Joanne instilled in her own children a deep sense of the importance of equality and tolerance, principles that also guided her throughout her life.
Despite a demanding professional career and her commitment to family, Joanne found time to pursue her thirst for knowledge and new challenges. In mid-life, she obtained a Master's Degree in Philosophy from Georgetown University.
In 2003, at the age of 62, Joanne died of ovarian cancer.
She is greatly missed.