Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966


Former resident Caron dies


September 23, 2010

Former resident Jo-Ann Georgette Caron died Sept. 15 of cancer in Calais, Me. Caron, 61, had lived in Calais for seven years with husband David Caron, a physician assistant who formerly worked at the Haines medical clinic.

David Caron said his wife’s cancer was first diagnosed three weeks ago.

Haines friends this week remembered Caron for her green thumb. "She was great with flowers. She did all the flowers at the museum," said Pam Sloper.

Born in Lewiston, Me. on Dec. 17, 1948, Jo-Ann was the oldest of four children born to Wallace Dube, a construction company owner, and his wife Rita, a seamstress. Her father died when she was 12, and Jo-Ann helped raise her younger siblings. She studied childhood development and graduated from the University of Maine with an education degree.

She married David Caron, a physician assistant in the U.S. Army, and raised three sons as the family moved 18 times in 20 years. While they were stationed in Maine, she became an estate gardener in posh Isleboro.

"She took care of acres of roses and hundreds of geraniums. She became a real expert gardener," David Caron said this week.

"She had a Ford Festiva and she’d get $1,500 worth of plants into it. They’d be jammed on top of each other, and she’d plant them for people who’d want their flowers to be blue that week and to tear all the other ones out… She’d go to three or four greenhouses on one trip."

A lifelong photographer, Jo-Ann started a graphic design business in Calais, selling her images including Alaska landscapes – a shot of a brown bear eating lupine in the Chilkat Pass sold hundreds of copies -- in gift shops there. She also made signs and business cards.

David Caron said his wife’s life work was making those around her succeed. "She was a facilitator and a sparkplug. She helped her brothers and sisters be the great, straight people that they are. She was one of those compasses in life."

In addition to her parents, Jo-Ann was preceded in death by brother Michael Dube. Survivors included husband David of Calais; sons Matthew Caron of Litchfield, Me ., Michael Caron of Merrimack, N.H ., and Mark Caron of Dalian, China. She also is survived by a sister and two brothers and three grandchildren.

Memories may be shared at Donations in her name can be made to the Haines ambulance crew.