Joanne 2006
Joanne Swendsen Trimble
1939 - 2013

Joanne Swendsen Trimble, a 22-year resident of Austin died on June 30th at the age of 74 from pancreatic cancer at Christopher House of Hospice Austin. Born Joanne Ruth Swendsen on March 12, 1939 in Fond du Lac,Wisconsin to Robert Swendsen and Erna Hintz Swendsen, she graduated in 1961 from Valparaiso University with a major in mathematics, followed by a Masters in 1963 at Purdue University and a PhD in 1973 at the University of Pennsylvania. Earlier she attended Pekin Community High School in Illinois, graduating in 1961.

In 1965 the Trimbles moved to New York City and from 1965 to 66, Joanne taught at Hunter College, followed by Upsala College from 1965-67. At this time the Trimbles participated in The Linnaean Society of New York, during what surely was its heyday. Christmas Bird Counts were pursued with gusto, including the respected Montauk Christmas Count. It was on this count that both Trimbles stayed in the Manor House on Gardiner's Island, and experienced the hospitality of Robert David Lion Gardiner and the exciting count guest Roger Peterson (a bird guide autograph bears the date of December 16, 1978). After the University of Pennsylvania, Joanne taught at Glassboro State College
(now Rowan University) from 1972 to 1984. It was during this time that she participated along with her husband in the establishment of a new Computer Science major.

In 1984, the Trimbles moved to Rhinebeck, New York where Joanne joined the Math Department at Marist College in Poughkeepsie.  In 1992, she joined her husband in Austin, Texas, where she accepted the pleasures of retirement. Joanne delighted in each of two mini dachshunds -- Hilbert, a red dapple, and Lindbergh, a black-and tan  retired champion.

She and her husband traveled widely, including many trips in their Mooney Executive 21 aircraft, one of which led them on an extended trip to Alaska (see web site below). Other excursions included two trips to Belize, six to the Bahamas, and one to Newfoundland which included a landing in L'Anse aux Meadows (where the Vikings came ashore).
Austin led to new personal opportunities for Joanne to pursue her prowess in dealing with words and their placement and arrangement, she began concentrating on the most difficult crosswords she could find, tackling every single Harper's Puzzle (found at the very end of Harper's magazine). A winner is determined by random choice from all the correct puzzle submissions. After winning for the first time, there came win after win, finally amounting to four wins and what surely is a record of some sort. Harper's finally established a rule that made a submitter ineligible for one year following a win.

Perhaps her most enthusiastic activity was her beloved water aerobics classes at the Austin 24-Hour Fitness club. Joanne became a member of a tight-knit group of like-minded water enthusiasts meeting three times a week to be put through demanding sequences of aerobic maneuvers. Friendships made here led to many social activities which kept Joanne's calender really full all year round. Many of the class visited repeatedly during her final days.

On September 8, 2012, the Trimbles celebrated 50 years of marriage at home with many close friends and family in attendance. Pictures may be found below.

In May 2013, Joanne learned of her pancreatic cancer diagnosis. She expended great energy and effort to join for three weeks in a Trial of some new anti-Cancer agents. Finally overwhelmed by the effects of her condition, she withdrew to Hospice Austin where she died on June 30, 2013.

Joanne is preceded in death by her parents and her brother James and is survived by her husband of 50 years Benjamin Andres Trimble, a sister-in-law Jessie Ozmelek (husband Savas), a nephew Raif Ozmelek (wife Kerry Ozmelek) and niece Aylin Lewallen (husband Mike Lewallen).

A memorial get-together took place August 3rd, 2013 at 2:00PM CDT at the Trimble home -- 6300 Shadow Mountain Dr., Austin. In addition, an Internet broadcast took place Aug. 3rd.
The text and broadcast video are both available below.


Locally published obituaries for Joanne, the texts of which are entirely included above, are to be found in the July 3rd print edition of the Austin American Statesman, as well as the Statesman Internet version at:

Guestbook from the Statesman newspaper



Joanne's Travels

Alaska Trip

Shadow Mountain (Neighborhood) Pictures

Fiftieth Anniversary Party

Joanne's Family

Memorial Get-together Broadcast

Memorial Get-together Essay Text

Bach Bradenburg Concerto #6 (Karl Richter)


Joanne's guestbook

(Original Guestbook, reproduced below, is closed -- In lieu of signing, please send comments to

Entry #: 38

Entry Date: 2013-12-12 03:42:27

Name:    Jim Bloemker
Visitor Comments: I didn't get to know Joanne well in person, although I did have her for a computer class and a Math class in Glassboro before the Computer Science major was formed. I also messed up the compiler on Ben's Xitan 80 computer doing something stupid - I'm sure he remembers that! (Sorry!) But what I remember most about Joanne and about Ben as well has been the sheer joy and love of life they had together, which I read about every year in their wonderful Christmas cards. When I saw that they were married for 50 years, I could truly say that it was 50 years of happy marriage! She was a great teacher and a great friend. And you could tell that she and Ben were each other's best friends all of their life together. What a wonderful legacy! She will be missed by all whose lives she touched, and there are a lot of us out there. I will remember her and Ben warmly every Christmas.
Entry #: 37

Entry Date: 2013-08-08 16:22:34

Private Entry
Entry #: 36

Entry Date: 2013-08-04 21:10:49

Name:    Rich McGovern
Visitor Comments: Joanne was a generous and gentle lady, a thoughtful colleague of great ability and integrity, and a good and faithful friend for more than forty years. It has been a privilege to know her and a great sorrow to loose her. Ben, you have my condolences and my sincere sympathy.
Entry #: 35

Entry Date: 2013-08-03 13:23:55

Name:    Benjamin Trimble
Visitor Comments: My heartfelt thanks to family and friends who have been so supportive in the past few months. I have read all guestbook posts, many several times. It makes me feel very good when I read from others that Joanne has been a significant part of their lives.
I thank you all.
Entry #: 34

Entry Date: 2013-08-02 06:06:03

Private Entry
Entry #: 33

Entry Date: 2013-08-01 22:52:39

Name:    Bert Greenspan
Visitor Comments: I first met Joanne while we were colleagues at Glassboro State/Rowan University. Joanne and Ben became dear friends of my wife,Sue, and me. She was a thoughtful person with sensitive insights into people and life. Often, after listening quietly to a conversation, Joanne would produce a perceptive observation that would summarize or arrive at the core of many minutes of previous discussion. She was an avid reader, deep thinker and a fount of information. I don't ever recall seeing her without a slight smile on her lips or a pleasant expression on her face. She was a dear lady who will be missed. We extend our warmest wishes to Ben with loving thoughts during this difficult time.
Entry #: 32

Entry Date: 2013-07-31 16:05:50

Name:    Celia Latz
Visitor Comments: I will miss Joanne very much. I remember meeting her for the first time when Ben presented his fiance to our family - I must have been about 12. She had a natural beauty with a noble patina. I was impressed with both their interests in birds, flying, nature, violin, and their sense of adventure- like swinging on a vine over a rocky river bed - ouch! The vine broke and Joanne landed on her tail bone!)I remember the chocolate wedding cake, and the tossing of the bridal bouquet, later at our house. It was coming into my hands but was intercepted by my older sister who pounced upon me to get it! They were a special couple and an inspiration to me that has positively influenced my life.
Entry #: 31

Entry Date: 2013-07-30 22:39:26

Name:    Lynn Copeland
Visitor Comments: I knew Ben and Joanne many years ago, first in New York, then Philadelphia, and then farther afield. As a group shared many interests and adventures -- hiking, camping, photography, eating and cooking. I could only admire her and Ben's birding expertise. I was delighted to be able to hook up from time to time in recent years. Ben, my very best wishes to you in this time of sorrow. Joanne was a wonderful friend and partner and her death has left a hole in the universe.
Entry #: 30

Entry Date: 2013-07-30 21:37:10

Private Entry
Entry #: 29

Entry Date: 2013-07-24 05:27:54

Name:    Beth, Jim, Lindsay and Jimmy Weeks
Visitor Comments: Joannes sudden illness and passing happened so quickly. Our hearts are broken. So glad that we got to visit her and spend time with her shortly before she passed away. So grateful our family moved to Austin 15 years ago so we could get to know my 2nd Cousin Ben and Joanne. We have shared many wonderful special holidays and occasions together, Christmas and birthdays. We also got to celebrate Ben and Joanne's 50th Wedding Anniversary. I was so proud of them to celebrate such a significant milestone. They have been there for all my children's dance performances and sports events. It has been wonderful to have them as family here to share these special moments with. i have such wonderful memories of Joanne. I always respected Joanne for her intelligence. You could always tell she was a great professor in Math. Her commitment to her health and routine exercise and eating healthy were so admirable. She was a devoted wife to Ben. She has been a great role model for me and my children. We will dearly miss Joanne. Much love to Ben. Ben we are always here for you and will keep you in our thoughts and prayers in the days ahead. We love you! Beth, Jim, Lindsay and Jimmy

Entry #: 28

Entry Date: 2013-07-24 04:38:04

Name:    Bill Caldwell
Visitor Comments: Joanne was a delight to know. An exceptional woman of many talents and she will be greatly missed.
Entry #: 27

Entry Date: 2013-07-23 23:24:06

Name:    Carole Meadows Walker
Visitor Comments: I never knew Joanne, but having read about her, I know she will be greatly missed by so very many people. My heart goes out to Ben and the rest of the family.
Entry #: 26

Entry Date: 2013-07-23 17:10:16

Name:    John W. DeLodder
Visitor Comments: Joanne's father and my mother were sister and brother. Joanne and Jimmy spent many a summer at Pine Lake, WI with my parents and siblings. For three weeks the demure lake was our playground. Joanne was probably 15 or 16 years old. Her passing brought back many memories that have been packed away in a recess in my brain. Interesting the life's memory files we retain and then are brought to the surface when death motivates them. Maybe that is what life can be defined as. A cluster of independent experiences that become stored as a cluster of neurons. Forgotten until an end of life brings them back. Joanne led the way and now we wait our turn.
Entry #: 25

Entry Date: 2013-07-23 00:02:40

Name:    Reid & Janet Hartsfield
Visitor Comments: Ben,
We did not know Joanne, but can tell she was loved by you and those around you. We wish we had known her better. She seems like a remarkable lady. Our prayers are with you.
Entry #: 24

Entry Date: 2013-07-22 23:04:09

Name:    Brenda Bennett Watson
Visitor Comments: Just want to express deepest regrets although I did not know Joanne, I wish Jim & I had the opportunity to visit with Ben & Joanne when we also lived in Austin, Texas from 1999 to 2003. From the comments I know Joanne will be greatly missed, she was a lovely lady.
Entry #: 23

Entry Date: 2013-07-22 22:20:55

Name:    Melody Hatfield
Visitor Comments: Joanne and I met through the Water Aerobics class many years ago. We were of the same political persuasion - enjoyed and discussed two topics: Politics and Birding.
Whereas I voted, Joanne campaigned all across America and shared her travel experiences; whereas I was trying to add to my Birder's Life List, Joanne helped me gain insight through her birding expertise, and was always inspiring. She was also quick to laugh, had a good sense of humor, helpful, sweet and smiling.
Entry #: 22

Entry Date: 2013-07-22 18:16:32

Name:    Karen White
Visitor Comments: Joanne was lovely, dear, and always full of good cheer. I'll always remember her for her kindness and for the music of her sweet laugh. She will be dearly missed.

Entry #: 21

Entry Date: 2013-07-18 16:37:25

Name:    William Trimble Higgins
Visitor Comments: I had the pleasure of visiting Joanne and Ben a couple of times with my Mother, Nell Trimble, at their home in Austin. Joanne was a lovely woman who I wish I had gotten to know better. My thoughts and prayers go out to her husband.
Lots of love,
Entry #: 20

Entry Date: 2013-07-16 00:05:05

Name:    Carol Guillebeaux
Visitor Comments: Joanne and I were classmates at Valparaiso University. Both of us majored in Math and were members of the same sorority, which coincidentally included the majority of Math majors in our class.

Later, she and Ben visited my husband and me in Southern California and were so good at keeping in touch over the years. When my husband died, they expressed such thoughtfulness.

They've been devoted to each other and shared the most interesting travel and hobby experience.

The friendship of Joanne and Ben has been a treasure.
Entry #: 19

Entry Date: 2013-07-15 20:46:03

Name:    Jema Marion
Visitor Comments:
Joanne was my favorite mathematics professor at Glassboro State College.  Joanne and Ben (my favorite computer professor) were quite the dynamic duo.  It speaks volume when you still keep in touch with students you had back in the late 70's.

Every year, I look forward to receiving your holiday card and learning about your adventures.

She has truly inspired and touched many of our lives and will be missed dearly.

Entry #: 18

Entry Date: 2013-07-15 18:30:47 -- Edited On: 2013-07-15 20:39:00

Name:    Rosemary Detrich
Visitor Comments: When I moved to Texas 20 years ago, I met Joanne. Over the years we developed a close friendship. We alerted each other to new good mystery writers. We met for lunch regularly (sometimes with our husbands). I valued her clear thinking on all kinds of issues. Joanne was a true friend and already I miss her dearly.
Entry #: 17

Entry Date: 2013-07-15 15:39:58

Name:    Bob Paxton and Sarah Plimpton
Visitor Comments: We are deeply saddened but happy that we knew Joanne and had many good times birding with Ben and Joanne on Gardiner's Island and elsewhere on Long Island.
Entry #: 16

Entry Date: 2013-07-12 18:38:52

Name:    Pearl Brundige
Visitor Comments:
I am so in awe of JoAnne's exemplary life.

It is with pleasure that I remember Ben and JoAnne's visit with Ken and me at Loon Lake Wa.

Thank you for the memories you have shared of your life with this kind, gentle and brilliant lady.

Entry #: 15

Entry Date: 2013-07-12 18:19:15

Name:    Dayton Cooper
Visitor Comments: Joanne was one of my mathematics professors, a mentor, a colleague, and foremost a friend. When Joanne and Ben moved out of the Glassboro State College area in 1984, the Mathematics Department wasn't the same. Every year, I loved to read their Holiday Letter to learn of their travels and exploits. The world is much sadder without Joanne in it. I will miss her.
Entry #: 14

Entry Date: 2013-07-10 19:56:39

Name:    Sue & Bob Dunlavey
Visitor Comments: Ben, we are both shocked and sadden to hear of Joanne's death. We have such fond memories of the Glassboro days (camping with the goats), visits with you, Joanne and your puppy (a Malamute - can't recall the name!). Keeping in touch over the years and miles has been wonderful too. Reading her obituary, I was reminded of a conversation I had with Joanne a long time ago about her love of puzzle solving. I had no idea it was a field of study until she explained the mathematics. Our lives are all richer for knowing and loving Joanne and her memory lives on in our hearts. Peace, Sue & Bob Dunlavey
Entry #: 13

Entry Date: 2013-07-10 18:49:53

Name:    Karina, John, Max, and Sam
Visitor Comments: I'll never forget the time Uncle Ben and Aunt Joanne landed their plane out in the fields of our farm, much to my delight. Or how they gave me my very first vegetarian cookbook for Christmas at age 11, even though everyone else thought it was just a phase. As children my sister and I thought they lived the most exciting and sophisticated life. We were charmed.

Uncle Ben and Aunt Joanne have been inspiring me for years. I've thought of them often as I taught, traveled the world, and worked at an Internet company.

Aunt Joanne was always so sweet and gentle, brilliant and fun. She will live on in all of our hearts.
Entry #: 12

Entry Date: 2013-07-10 05:28:42

Name:    Rosanne Weiss
Visitor Comments: Ben
I am so sorry to hear about Joanne's passing. You both were a few of my favorite profs at GSC and I enjoyed keeping up with all your endeavors since that time.
Entry #: 11

Entry Date: 2013-07-09 20:22:47

Name:    Natalie, David, Freddy and Wynn
Visitor Comments: Uncle Ben and Aunt Joanne have always been a huge inspiration in my life. You guys encouraged me to travel, see the world. Study. Work hard. Have fun. Laugh. These last few years have been extra special with you both. We love visiting you in Austin. Joanne always showered such warmth and will always make me smile when I remember all the great times. This has been a rough year, but our families hold the love and strength to prepare us all for one day another unknown adventure. Much love to you all.
Entry #: 10

Entry Date: 2013-07-09 03:12:24

Name:    Kerry Ozmelek
Visitor Comments: A poem that I found that relates to Joanne on many levels:

"I'll lend you, for a little while, a bird of mine," He said.
"For you to love while he lives, and mourn when he is dead.

It may be six or seven years, or maybe twenty-three,
But will you, till I call him back, take care of him for me?

He'll bring his charms to gladden you, and shall his stay be brief,
You'll have his lovely memories as solace for your grief.

I cannot promise he will stay, as all from Earth return,
But there are lessons taught down there I want this bird to learn.

I've looked the whole world over in my search for teachers true,
And from the throngs that crowd life's lanes, I have selected you.

Now will you give him all your love - not think this labor vain,
Nor hate me when I come to call, to take him back again.

I fancied that I heard them say, 'Dear Lord, thy will be done.'
For all the joy this bird shall bring, the risk of grief we'll run.

We'll shower him with tenderness and love while we may,
And for the happiness we've known, forever grateful stay.

And should the angels call for him much sooner than we planned,
We'll brave the bitter grief that comes, and try to understand."

If, by your love, you've managed, my wishes to achieve,
In memory of him you've loved; be thankful; do not grieve.

Cherish every moment of your feathered charge.
He filled your home with songs of joy the time he was alive.
Let not his passing take from you those memories to enjoy.

"I will lend to you, a Bird", God said, and teach you all you have to do.
And when I call him back to heaven, you will know he loved you too.

~Author unknown
Entry #: 9

Entry Date: 2013-07-08 17:59:32

Name:    Raif Ozmelek
Visitor Comments: We will miss Joanne greatly but will always have the great, past memories.

Christmases, Disney World, Cat Island, Abaco Island, Mt. Washington, Wheeler Peak, Pittsburgh museums, help with math in high school, playing trivial pursuit, Sweat Mountain, bird identification, Austin restaurants, Timberlake and the list goes on and on ....

We will miss her.

Love ... Raif
Entry #: 8

Entry Date: 2013-07-08 15:43:48

Name:    Andrea, Kyle, Seth and Andrew
Visitor Comments: When I heard about Joanne's death, I remembered staying in poughkepsie with you and Joanne and the many card games she and I played that summer at Lake Dunmore when my parents, Michelle and I vacationed and ya'll visited us. I will never forget her! Love to you!
Entry #: 7

Entry Date: 2013-07-08 01:29:16 -- Edited On: 2013-07-08 02:22:00

Name:    Nell Trimble
Visitor Comments: It just breaks my heart that Joanne had to suffer so intensely with pancreatic cancer. At least now she is not in pain. She put up such a good fight and was so glad to join the trial for a new drug trial, M402 for her cancer that her "suffering might not have been in vain."

I want to commend her for a happy marriage with Ben of over 50 years. In this day and age perhaps doing that is the greatest achievement we can make.

What a legacy she has left to inspire us! Her razor-sharp mind that devoured both numbers and words.
Thank you for all you have given us, Joanne! In the life beyond may you continue to work crossword puzzles, sight more birds, and have more fun than ever before.
Entry #: 6

Entry Date: 2013-07-08 01:24:29

Name:    Mike, Aylin, Cameron and Cooper Lewallen
Visitor Comments: Big Benny, you and and Joanne were the second set of parents for Raif and me growing up and boy, how we enjoyed those holiday and vacation visits at Timberlake, the Bahamas, New Jersey, Idaho, and on....

Joanne lived exactly the way she wanted - books, puzzles, traveling, her pets, and healthy living. And two were meant for each other, soul mates. Joanne will never be forgotten through our memories and fond feelings for her through the rest of time.

Entry #: 5

Entry Date: 2013-07-06 17:37:27

Name:    Penny
Visitor Comments: I have so many fond memories of being with Joanne and Ben. Starting over 35 years ago, up until they last visited Al in the Autumn of 2012 when Joanne shared the most beautiful long stem red roses with us. Albert fondly remembered being in charge of the music at their wedding, and I remember how wonderful it was to have them both at our daughter's, Natalie's & Karina's weddings. Joanne was always a huge influence with the girls as they'd try to put puzzles together with the picture upside down like Aunt Joanne could do and of course the love of dogs, word games,great intellectual conversations and educational endeavors. Joanne even had me laughing during our last conversation. Remembering her sense of humor brings an automatic smile to my face. You will never be forgotten dear Joanne.
Entry #: 4

Entry Date: 2013-07-04 22:32:19

Name:    Jessie
Visitor Comments: This is note I sent to Joanne a few days before she died: Dear Joanne,

It's so hard to find the words to tell you how I feel. You are handling this with grace and dignity as you have with many things. I remember many good times together. Trip to Delancy St., many holidays, playing Pictionary, Easter Egg hunt in NJ, visit to Mt. Washington and Woodstock, much fun in Turkey, tubing in Rhinebeck, big party in Austin and much more. Your kindness and wit always shine through your quiet nature. You are always supportive of others yet undemanding for yourself. I wish you weren't leaving us, but know that who you are will remain fondly with all of us and we will often speak of you and remember all the good times.... Jessie and Savas
Entry #: 3

Entry Date: 2013-07-04 17:28:03

Name:    Laura L Burnham
Visitor Comments: Although we have not been together in quite a few years I will never forget the times we did spend together at our house and TIMBERLAKE. Playing bridge, talking, and looking at pictures. Our families always had a special bond which time and distance never severed. God bless you Ben Andres and special love to Joanne.
Entry #: 2

Entry Date: 2013-07-04 01:30:48

Name:    Rhoda and Doug Joyner
Visitor Comments: It was a special time when Ben came back to Decatur Ga to celebrate his 55th Decatur High School graduation and Joanne came with him. We gathered in various places with dear classmates and friends. One of my favorite memories now is our lunch with Clarke Rodgers, Carole Ann,and Ben and Joanne, Doug, and Gene joined us. It was quiet, we talked and talked until we felt the dogs would feel they were abandoned. I am thankful for this special time with this brilliant woman, Joanne.
Entry #: 1

Entry Date: 2013-07-03 23:31:18 -- Edited On: 2013-07-06 07:32:00

Name:    Benjamin Trimble
Visitor Comments: Thanks to all Joanne's friends for their support during her short illnesss.