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Obituary: Joan Alcouffe Aug. 16, 2015

on August 18, 2015 - 12:41pm

JOAN ALCOUFFE Aug. 16, 2015

Joan Alcouffe, 75, a resident of Los Alamos passed away on Sunday, August 16, 2015.

She was preceded in death by her father, Walter Davenport, and mother, Frances Davenport. She was educated at the University of Idaho from 1958-1962 and was an active member of the KKG sorority. She met her husband of 51 years, Raymond Alcouffe, in Idaho Falls, Idaho in 1963 where she was an elementary school teacher. They married and had five children: Michael, John, Matthew, Douglas, and Cari. She was a devoted wife and mother and enjoyed traveling internationally, writing, and cooking. 

From 1974 she and Ray were actively involved with the Marriage Encounter program where they facilitated couples working to enhance their communication skills for healthy marriages. This work led them to the Engaged Encounter program, a weekend retreat devoted to preparing engaged couples for marriage. In September of 1983, the family suffered a tragedy when Michael was involved in an automobile accident where he sustained a traumatic brain injury and was given a 20 percent chance of survival. Joan committed herself to advocating for his treatment, rehabilitation and eventual recovery over a number of years.

Her experience with Michael led her to work with other families to grow the nascent New Mexico Head Injury Board. Her pride and joy was a Head Injury Camp she ran from 1985-1988, which brought together nurses, music and art teachers, and speech language therapists to support a peer group of head injury survivors. This organization continues today as a statewide professional continuing education program.

She moved from this work to becoming a special education aide at Pinon Elementary School and a foster parent to infants suffering from shaken baby syndrome and children who had experienced failed adoptions. As such, she was a blessing to many groups of disadvantaged children and families. In 2000 after the devastating Cerro Grande fire, she organized and had published a cookbook, Taste and See the Goodness of the Lord, which she and her committee distributed to all those who lost their homes to the fire. 

She then suffered her own tragedy, a diagnosis of the autoimmune disease, Mixed Connective Tissue Disorder, in 2003, which led to her gradual decline in energy and overall well-being. She is survived by her husband, children, and 6 grandchildren: Haley Anderson, Brianna Deschamp, Dillon Alcouffe, Nathan Alcouffe, Reece Alcouffe, and Cadence Alcouffe.

Rosary Vigil Service will be held at 7: oo pm Friday August 21, 2015 at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church with Funeral Mass at the same location on Saturday August 22 at 11:00 am. In lieu of flowers please donate to the Brain Injury Alliance of Colorado (http://biacolorado.org/) or the Christian Concern Committee of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church (http://www.ihmcc.org/ccc.html).

The family of Joan Alcouffe has entrusted the care of their loved one to the DeVargas Funeral Home & Crematory of the Espanola Valley. 505.747.7477 – www.devargasfuneral.com

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