Joan Wakefield 1950-2013

WARREN – Joan “Joanie” Louise Wakefield, 63, passed away Monday, July 1, 2013.

She was born Jan. 28, 1950, in Warren, to the late Burritt and Alma Wakefield.

A retired Lt. Colonel with the U.S. Air Force, she earned many medals during her time of service; Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with one bronze oak leaf cluster, Combat Readiness Medal with four bronze oak leaf clusters, National Device Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Air Force Longevity Service Medal with four oak leaf clusters, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with one Silver Hourglass, and ‘M’ device Air Force Training Ribbon.

On Feb. 3, 2002, she was featured in an article, “Nurse Aided Soldiers Hurt in Somali Raid,” in the Columbus Dispatch. The article talked about her valiant effort, along with other physicians, nurses and military personnel to assist the injured, dying and dead during the ill-fated raid in Mogadishu, Somalia. It was this raid that prompted the movie, “Black Hawk Down.” She proudly joined the U.S. Air Force in 1975 and retired in 2010. A graduate of the Akron City Hospital with a diploma in nursing, Joanie worked at The Ohio State University in the Transplant Unit providing unconditional love and care to every patient for whom she cared. She was also a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

She is survived by her sisters, Barbara Wakefield, Sally (Edward) Latessa; brother, Albert Wakefield; and many loving nieces, nephews and their families along with special friends with whom she kept in close contact for many years. She joins her beloved twin brother, James Thomas, who died many years ago but remained close in her heart. Joanie never knew a stranger; she considered everyone a “friend” and just loved people and life.

Family will receive friends from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday at Schoedinger Worthington Chapel, 6699 N. High St., Worthington, OH 43085. Services, with military honors, will take place at 11 a.m. Tuesday, where friends may call from 10 to 11 in Greenlawn Cemetery in Greene Township.

Local arrangements were entrusted to the Carl W. Hall Funeral Home. Memorial contributions may be made to The Ohio State University, Ross Heart Hospital, in her memory. The Wakefield family is very grateful for the love, care and support shown by the nurses, physicians and staff during this most difficult time, at the Ross Heart Hospital. Please visit to share memories, photographs and send condolences to her family.

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