Vail Daily obituary: Joan Wareham Flacke, 1931-2015 |

Vail Daily obituary: Joan Wareham Flacke, 1931-2015

Joan Wareham Flacke, MD, died June 29 in Tucson, Arizona, after a very short illness. Born Dec. 16, 1931, in Evanston, Illinois, daughter of Loyal Delbert Wareham and Alice Cummings, she was 83.

Proudly raised in Iowa City, Joan charted her own course, attending Scripps College in Claremont, California. There she received a BA/BS in 1953. Having discovered a fascination with biology, she enrolled in Harvard Medical School and was one of a handful of women in the class of 1959.

While studying medicine, she took special note of a young visiting pharmacologist, Werner Flacke of Recke, Westphalia, Germany. They married in Boston in 1957.

Joan’s residency in anesthesia, her chosen medical specialty, was made more eventful by her pregnancies — first with son Christopher (1963) and then Gary (1964) — and her role in the world’s first successful surgery to reattach a severed arm. After completing her training, Joan joined the faculty of Harvard Medical School, practicing at the Massachusetts General Hospital until 1970.

That year, Joan and Werner welcomed their third son, Timothy, and the family relocated to Little Rock, Arkansas, where Werner became chairman of the Pharmacology Department and Joan soon joined the Anesthesia Department at the University of Arkansas.

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In 1976, Joan and Werner both accepted appointments in the Department of Anesthesiology at UCLA, and moved to Los Angeles. At UCLA, Joan balanced a clinical focus on cardiac anesthesia with a wide range of research and teaching interests, many in partnership with Werner. She retired as a professor of anesthesia in 1995.

The family had been visiting the Vail valley since 1971; Joan and Werner retired to the area in 1995. They ultimately settled in Wolcott. Following Werner’s death in 2008, and several health issues of her own, Joan moved to Tucson in 2011. She lived near her son Gary and his family, and with her beloved dogs, until her death.

In retirement, she rekindled a longtime passion, a love of riding and horses. She competed in Saddlebred and later Peruvian horse shows beyond her 80th birthday, often demurring when fellow equestrians inquired about her age. Joan maintained other hobbies throughout her life, especially needlepoint, stamp collecting and participating in choral music.

Joan is survived by her sister Mary Alice Cline, of Santa Monica, California; sons Christopher Flacke, of Los Angeles, Gary Flacke, MD, of Tucson, Arizona; and Timothy Flacke, of Boston; and four grandchildren.

A funeral mass will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. Aug. 15 at the Vail Chapel in Vail. A lunch will follow. The interment will be private.

The family respectfully asks that, rather than flowers, any contributions in memory of Joan be made to Catholic Relief Services, The Unwanted Horse Network or any charitable organization whose mission touches you.

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