Death of Joan South, Long-time Morris Society Member

Marilyn Ibach, a member of the William Morris Society in the United States, writes—

Joan South, who was active for so many years as Trustee of the William Morris Society in the UK, and who remained a great mentor to me long after I left my job at the William Morris Centre in 1978, passed away peacefully at home with her three children Imogen, William, and Julia at her side, on February 6, 2011, aged 86, after some months in a nursing home in Kent.

Joan became a member of the William Morris Society in 1970, and by the time I was living at Kelmscott House in 1977, she was a Committee member.  She regularly dropped by Tuesdays on her way to market in Hammersmith to see how I was going on. Having moved to London from Australia in 1959, Joan was sympathetic to a new arrival, and  regularly invited me to her home, including for a wonderful Christmas dinner.

Her interest in William Morris was the main reason that we met, and of course we could talk about that for hours.  But it was her nurturing, bright nature that drew me, and I am sure, many others.  Florence Boos, when learning of her death, called Joan South a woman of great intelligence and broad culture.
In the late 1990s, Joan became the Honorary Secretary of the William Morris Society. She also was active in another cause, the Leasehold Enfranchisement Association, when her lease at Upper Phillimore Gardens was threatened with closure. She wrote the book Leasehold: the Case for Reform, in 1994.

I last saw Joan in September 2009, and she was as interested and involved in family, friends, and life as always.   I will miss her.

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