A giving heart, an industrious soul, a loving and wonderful wife and mother, Joan died peacefully at St. Andrew’s Village early on March 6, 2021. Despite pandemic restrictions, her daughter Melissa had seen her less than 24 hours before her passing and had let her know how much her family loved and adored her and wanted her spirit to be peacefully released.
The daughter of Duane and Jean (Dickey) Stigers, Joan was born in Punxsutawney on March 28, 1932. Raised in Indiana, she attended Horace Mann School and graduated from Indiana High School. When the Indiana Junior High School underwent renovations in the early 2000s, she was the driving force behind saving the bas-relief of a World War I doughboy on its north side.
Inspired by giving back to her community, Joan was past president of the Indiana Chapter of Zonta International, board member of The Indiana County Historical Society, Indiana Free Library, The Salvation Army and the IUP Museum Board. As an avid glass collector, she was a member of the Indiana Glass Club, a founding member of Indiana Questers/Shaver’s Springs Chapter and the curator of the IUP Museum Indiana/Dugan Glass exhibition.
Over many years she served in multiple roles in the leadership of Grace United Methodist Church. Her soul excelled at generosity, empathy and compassion. A proud graduate of The University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor of Arts degree, she met the love of her life, Robert Baird Jr., while commuting every week to Pitt.
After raising two children and becoming a consummate homemaker, she had a second life as a key member of the Baird Insurance Agency, which became Koontz, George & Baird, and later worked at retailer Lucy Rae in downtown Indiana.
She is survived by her sister, Diane Frangione (Ron), of Marlton, N.J., and nephews Carl and Michael Frangione; her brother-in-law, David R. Baird, of Myrtle Beach, S.C.; one niece, Jan Baird; her son, Robert Christian and his wife Phillippa (Pip), of Brooklyn N.Y.; her daughter, Melissa Baird Kittelmann and son, Robert Maxwell Kittelmann, of Indiana; and canine family member, Sir Tucker Pete.
She was preceded in death by her parents, and in 1991 by her beloved husband, one of Indiana’s true heroes, Robert Baird, Jr.; and a nephew, David Baird.
The family will receive friends from 9:30 a.m. until the time of the service honoring Joan’s life at 11 a.m. Saturday at Grace United Methodist Church with Pastor Kathy Mihoerck and the Rev. Eric Park officiating.
The family kindly suggests memorial contributions be made to VNA/Hospice, 850 Hospital Road, Suite 3000, Indiana, PA 15701 or Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, 322 Eighth Ave., 16th Floor, New York, NY, 10001.
To sign the online register book or send condolences, please visit www.shoema kerfamilyservices.com.