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A Fond Farewell to Local WWII Veteran

Joan Moffet, one of the dwindling number of South Pasadena veterans who served during World War II, has died.

Moffet, who had lived in the city since 1952, died June 8 at age 100.

Funeral services are scheduled for June 24 at Holy Family Catholic Church in South Pasadena, and she will be buried the next day at the Riverside National Cemetery.

Moffet, with help from her daughter Ann Moffet Close, said in an interview last fall with the Review that when she went to enlist, she had to stand on her toes to meet the minimum height requirement.

She said that her father had served in World War I and that volunteering was “the right thing to do.”

“I wanted to do what I could to help,” Joan Moffet said.

She served in the Army Nurse Corps, first on a hospital ship and then at Clark Field in Luzon in the Philippines. There, she treated not only wounded Americans, but also Japanese soldiers who had been taken out of the jungle — some of whom did not even know the war had ended. She treated soldiers dealing with tuberculosis, polio and jungle rot, in addition to gunshot wounds.

Joan Moffet served in the Philippines for 16 months, and on Aug. 16, 1946, she was relieved from active duty as a first lieutenant.

Ann Moffet Close relayed a story that one soldier, who was in an iron lung, was being treated by her mother and was about to be relieved by a black nurse.

The soldier balked at having a black nurse.

“Mom stood up for her and said she knew just as much as any white nurse,” Ann Moffet Close recalled. “But they wouldn’t let the black nurses work with the white soldiers anymore.”

“We were women from different areas, and all were very nice,” Moffet told the Review. “Everyone stood up and helped everyone else.”

After the war, she visited her sister in Alhambra, and fell in love with the California climate.

She was asked by a cardiologist to work at his office, but one of the conditions required her to use a car. She did not even know how to drive, but went out to a local used car dealership and met her future husband Dean — the son of the owner of the car dealership.

Dean and Joan were married in September 1950, and Moffet continued to respond to Red Cross requests for nurses to serve. She also helped the program immunize people against polio.

When her children were in school, she became active in the PTA and volunteered as health chairman and assisted the school nurses.

She is survived by her sister Mary, age 98, and brother Donald, age 85; two daughters, Rosemary, 72, and Ann, 62; and four grandchildren.

First published in the June 21 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

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