2010-11-11 / Obituaries

Ziegler, Joanna E. 60

She was born Joanna Edith Ziegler. To the

thousands of college

students she would later inspire, encourage, and motivate, she was Professor Ziegler. But throughout her life and exemplary academic career – to family, colleagues, and friends alike, including many she met during her years in Jamestown – she was, simply and affectionately, Jody.

She lost her valiant struggle with pancreatic cancer on Nov. 4, 2010. In her final days, she was lovingly attended by family members and close friends at the Rose Monahan Hospice Home in Worcester, Mass., where she had been visited by former students, associates, and others, many of whom shared Jody’s love for art, literature, music, theater, gardening, antiques, and entertaining.

The daughter of musician and restaurateur Joseph Ziegler, and concert pianist Catherine (Warren) Ziegler, Jody spent her childhood in northern New Jersey, then lived, worked, and studied theater and dance in New York City for several years, before enrolling at Brown University in Providence, R.I. There she earned BA and MA degrees in the arts, graduating magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa in 1978. A doctorate in the History of Art and Architecture followed, in 1984. She also traveled and studied in Europe, where she gained the special interest in medieval art and architecture that would illuminate her teaching and writing throughout her career.

While completing her PhD, Jody began teaching at the College of the Holy Cross, in Worcester. In addition to the many innovative courses she created and taught over the next 28 years, she served several terms as chair of the Department of Visual Arts, held positions on numerous curricular and administrative boards and committees, both on campus and in the community, and on the boards of a number of national academic organizations, including Collegium, and the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society. Over the years, Jody received numerous grants and awards, and in 1994, was recognized as the Holy Cross “Distinguished Teacher of the Year.”

Jody also wrote or co-authored several books, as well as more than 100 articles, papers, and reviews, and was invited to lecture at colleges and museums, and to address various arts and academic conferences throughout the country, and abroad. In 2001, she served as an advisor to the PBS documentary film, “The Face: 2000 Years of Jesus in Art.” For those seeking more detailed information, Jody’s complete curriculum vitae can be found on-line at: holycross.edu.

While a resident of the island, Jody became an active member of the congregation at Saint Matthew’s Episcopal Church, where she sang in the choir, assisted with the annual summer auctions, and served for two years as a member of the Vestry. Jody also was involved with the Jamestown Historical Society, including arranging for summer interns from Holy Cross. She also founded and for several years operated the “Pas de Chat” gift shop, at the Cathryn Jamison salon.

Jody moved to Jamestown in 2002 with her husband at the time, Joe Vecchione; the two divorced in 2009 but continued a close and mutually supportive relationship. Jody is also survived by Lisa (Vecchione) Kerr, her husband Jeff, and their children Caellum and Emma, all residents of Jamestown; her sister, Diana (Ziegler) Yeomans; her brother Joel Ziegler, and his wife Susan; and her brother David and his wife Suzanne, of New Jersey; three nieces, four nephews, and six grand nieces and nephews. And, of course, Jody is survived as well by the many, many young people whose minds and hearts she engaged, challenged, and enriched – in college classrooms and in life itself. A memorial celebration is being planned for a future date.

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