Photo of Joan Smyth Iversen in 1967

Joan Smyth (later Joan Iversen) around 1967

Here’s an adapted version of the obituary that I wrote (with photo added of Max, the dog):

Joan Smyth Iversen, 81, of Oneonta, passed away on Sept. 16, 2013, at Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown, NY after complications resulting from knee replacement surgery.

She was predeceased by her first husband, Terence J. Smyth, and her parents. She was survived by her husband of 44 years, Jack Iversen, a retired faculty member at the State University of New York at Oneonta; her five children, Nancy Smyth, Tod Iversen, Terence Smyth, Kristen Cartwright, and Jill Iversen; her sister, Dawn Danielson, and her nine grandchildren.

She attended St. Francis College and then received her bachelor’s degree from Fordham University in New York City, graduating with her stepfather, Richard McAtamney. She received her doctorate in education from Teacher’s College of Columbia University.

She was a high school social studies teacher at Ossining High School in Ossining, N.Y. from 1953-1958 and 1965-1966, and a part-time instructor at Teacher’s College, Columbia University in 1960-1964, and 1966-1967. She joined the faculty of the State University of New York at Oneonta (SUNY-Oneonta) History Department in 1967 as an assistant professor and was promoted to associate professor in 1973 and full professor in 1981. She was widely known as an outstanding teacher, culminating in her receiving the State University of New York Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1973. She served as history department chair from 1987-1990. She retired from SUNY-Oneonta in 1993.

Iversen was a champion of women’s rights and the study of women’s history. She was the founder and chair of the SUNY-Oneonta Women’s Studies program from 1975-1979, and a founding member and vice-president of the Delaware/Otsego Chapter of the National Organization for Women. She was also founder and chair of the Oneonta Battered Women’s Project in 1978, which is now the Violence Intervention Program of Opportunities for Otsego. Her research focused on the feminist implications of Mormon polygyny and her book, The Antipolygamy Controversy in U.S. Women’s Movements, 1880-1925, A Debate on the American Home, continues to be a key resource on this topic.

Joan & Jack's dog, Max

Joan & Jack’s dog, Max

After retiring, she spent winters in Key Largo, Florida, with her husband, Jack, and their dog, Max. She continued to support and mentor women in their professional development, and she was always there to guide family and friends on what they should be reading in the New York Times. She was widely appreciated for her artistic flair for interior decoration and sense of style and would share her style advice freely with friends and family. She was an excellent cook, although in later life, she especially enjoyed frozen Snickers bars.