She was raised in a very strict Welsh Methodist household in Swansea but was herself a free spirit. Her family's first language was Welsh. She was an excellent pianist and acted in amateur plays in Welsh when young. After leaving school she worked as a telephonist at the Swansea Post Office.
She married Albert Kohler in 1933, Her niece Muriel was a bridesmaid at her (Joan's) marriage (see photo). Muriel thinks the marriage was at Park Street Chapel in the centre of Swansea. This was bombed during the war and does not exist anymore. (See Albert Sidney Kohler for more information about her marriage years.)
Her husband Albert died in 1957 when she was just 52 and had children aged 15, 18 and 21. (She was to live 32 more years as a widow.) Despite her straitened circumstances she was determined that her children should complete their education. She immediately started work in the licence department at County Hall and, a short while later, got a job as telephonist at Allen and Hanburys in Ware, Herts. She liked her job a lot and was very good at it. She was very popular and made a lot of friends at work. She joined the amateur dramatic society, dressed smartly (she made all her own clothes), and became President of the local Women’s Institute.
She was always very welcoming to her children and grandchildren, whom she loved deeply. All who stayed at her house remember those visits with great affection. At various times, she nursed her daughter Yvonne and step-daughter Delphine when they were ill. She was a wonderful cook and, even in her later years, an excellent pianist.
She never quite adjusted to retirement but she continued with crafts, including crochet and pottery (at which she was excellent). She was very sorry when she had to move from her house at 2 Hillside Crescent because it was deemed structurally unsound. The remainder of her life, after leaving Hillside Crescent, was very sad as she grappled with loneliness and increasing dementia. For a short while she stayed in a nearby bungalow and then moved to a nursing home which she hated.
She died in The Moat House Care Home in the village of Great Easton, near Dunmow, Essex and is buried in the churchyard at Great Amwell, Herts.
She was a very loving and supportive wife, mother and grandmother.
Here are photos of her with her sister Betty, with her sisters Betty and Maggie, and with Maggie, Betty, her brother Idris and his wife Dorothy. See Albert Sidney Kohler for more photos of her.