|Beloved hike leader dies too young
Joan Elisabeth DiStefano, enthusiastic hike leader for the Chapter passed
away on March 11 of complications from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also known
as Lou Gehrigs disease) in Monterey at the age of 63. She had been a resident
of Carmel for 40 years and led hikes throughout the high Sierra, the Ventana and
Monterey Peninsula. A special favorite of members was her annual hike on New Years
Day. She led her last hike January 1, 2002.
Joan was involved in many outdoor activities. She bicycled through Europe, hiked
all over the high Sierra including the John Muir Trail and played tennis almost
A close friend, Dale Hekhuis has wonderful memories of Joan: I came to know
Joan and her husband, Lew, on hiking and camping trips to the high Sierra and
One trip I remember well was to the picturesque Lake of the Lone Indian
in the High Sierra at 10,000 feet. I was fortunate in having Joan and Lew on the
trip because of Joans experience in leading Sierra Club outings. It also
helped because she had a seemingly inexhaustible supply of energy. Joan took it
upon herself to make sure that everything packed in was also packed out. We took
the Goodale Pass at 10,500 feet. Happily, our food and tents were packed in by
Years later, while reminiscing with Joan during her illness, she told me
that the trip was the best she had taken in the Sierra. That was Joan making me
feel good while she was hurting.
In addition to her husband of 40 years, Lewis, Joan is survived by two daughters,
Anne Marie DiStefano and Diana DiStefano, two brothers, Jim McCarthy and Tom McCarthy,
a sister, Delia McCarthy and many loving and devoted relatives and friends.