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Joan Wilma Allen Korda - May 8, 1937 to November 15, 2023
Joan Wilma Allen was born May 8, 1937 in Cleveland, Ohio, and adopted at age 3 days by Adelaide and Harold Allen of Detroit, Michigan. She lived a blessed and fairytale life. From age 3 to 7 she traveled with her mother and father, (her father a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army) to Dayton, OH; Albuquerque, NM; and Miami Beach, FL. In Florida, she rode on her great dane alongside of her father as he inspected the troops. She was their mascot.
Back in Detroit, she attended the Liggett School for Girls, spent winters on Biscayne Bay in Miami Beach, and from age 9 to 16 she spent 2 months each summer at Camp Winonah, in Naples, Maine. Joan was a Gold Medal English Saddle Rider, and once rode with Cary Grant in Palm Springs. Sports great, Hank Greenburg, her father’s best friend, lived with them while playing for the Tigers, Singer Tony Martin and his wife, Cyd Charisse, a professional ballerina, stayed at their home when he performed in Detroit. Cid gave Joan ballet lessons, opening the door to what was to be her career.
Joan attended the University of Michigan, and was a lifelong sports fan. After a year at the University of Michigan, her parents divorced and her mother and Joan moved to Beverly Hills, California, where most of her extended family lived. They were agents to Elizabeth Taylor, Fred MacMurray, and many more. Her cousin Jimmy Goldstone won an Oscar for “Marty.” Her Uncle Jack Schwab opened two Pharmacies, one in Beverly Hills, California, and one in Hollywood, California. They were a popular hangout at the café for movie actors and movie industry dealmakers from 1930 through the70s.
In Los Angeles, Joan was a model for Saks Fifth Avenue, was a member of “New Talent” at 20th Century Fox, took acting lessons from Agnes Morehead, and ballet and tap lessons from Oscar winning choreographer for the greats and Zigfield, Seymour Felix.
At age 20, Joan fell deeply in love with concert violinist and orchestra leader Murray Korda. They became engaged on her 21st birthday, and were married two months later. Their one year honeymoon touring the world ended after 5 months when Joan became pregnant with their first child. During their honeymoon, Murray performed in several European cities. They met with the King of Denmark, Queen of Belgium, played Ping-Pong with the King and Queen of Spain, stayed at the castle Chateau de Grosbois in France, dined with the Prince, and Queen Elizabeth sent her personal physician to care for Joan when she contracted the German Measles.
Once back in Los Angeles, Joan and Murray bought a beautiful home and had three more children. Joan was a Cub Scout Troop Leader, a Brownie Troop Leader, a Girl Scout Troop Leader, PTA President, and Chairman of the Woman’s Division of the Reiss Davis Child Study Center for Emotionally Disturbed Children. She also did her husband’s payroll for his orchestra.
They had a second home in Palm Springs, and spent a month or more each winter in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico where she home schooled the children. Wanting a change of life, they bought an 18th Century historic mansion in Orwell, Vermont. Brookside Farms became a Country Inn and Antique Shop. Joan quickly became active in the community as Chairman of the Addison County division of the American Cancer Society, and the Vermont Symphony. She was Secretary of the Friends of Art at Middlebury College; Membership Chairman then Secretary for many years of the Orwell Fortnightly Club, a Director of the Sheldon Museum, and two term President of the Vermont Antique Dealers Association, and then a director. Among her many honors was “Business Woman of the Year.”
After her beloved husband was killed in an automobile accident in Vermont, the family decided that running the Inn and the Farm were too much, so Joan sold Brookside and moved seven miles up the road to
Bridport. She bought a 3 bedroom home on the Village Green, and proceeded to double it in size as well as adding an Antique Shop.
Joan joined the Bridport Homemakers, Bone Builders, the Historical Society, and was an active member of the town as well.
Her friendships were many and true, and she loved all the towns that she had lived in. For all of her beautiful and blessed life, she was a down to earth and devoted mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, and kept her dearest friends the closest. Her motto was always “Family First-Friends a close second.”
Joan was a giving spirit. She loved to give gifts, and emotional support.
She leaves her children and their spouses; Sidney Korda and Margaret (Orr) from Orwell, Vermont; Elizabeth Korda Smith and husband, Tait from Woodland Hills, California; Suzanne Korda Roorda and husband, Case from New Haven, Vermont, and Anthony Korda and his wife, Kathrin (Zimmerman) formally from Bridport, Vermont and recently Tucson, Arizona; Grandchildren: Nicholas Korda (Life Partner, Elena Cantor), Hannah (Chris) Ainsworth, Joshua Schwartz, Benjamin Schwartz, Elyse Schwartz, Melissa Porter, Emily Porter, Alex Korda, Kyle Korda, Cassidy Roorda, and Austin Roorda; and Great-Grandchildren: Trenton Ainsworth, Garrett Ainsworth, Ana Cantor-Wilkes, Eva Cantor-Wilkes, and Joaquina Cantor Korda. She also leaves two very special friends, Lynne and Robert Boie.
It was Joan’s wish that instead of flowers, please donate to the American Cancer Society, Addison County Homeward Bound, Orwell Fire and Rescue, Bridport Fire Department, or your favorite charity, and please remember the homeless and those in need of food.
Arrangements by Miller & Ketcham Funeral Home in Brandon.