In Memoriam: Joan St. Germain

Joan  St. Germain, professor of theatre (costuming),  died Monday, May 18.  Joan St. Germain An announcement of funeral arrangements has not yet been made.

A native of Rhode Island, she came to Marshall University in 1998 having received her B.A. in Theatre Arts from Marquette University and her M.F.A. in Costuming from The Ohio University at Columbus.

During her tenure at Marshall University Joan taught courses in costuming and make-up and designed costumes for well over 100 productions.  She also served several terms in the Faculty Senate, taught Yeager Seminars, UNI 101 courses, and assisted with the Office of Assessment and Quality Initiatives.

Among her many honors were the 2002-03 Queens-Pickens Teacher Award and two New Hampshire Theatre Awards for costuming, as well as being a finalist for the 2014 Shirley Reynolds Teaching Award.

Besides her work for Marshall University School of Theatre, she shared her talents with Greenbrier Valley Theatre; Black Hills Playhouse in Custer, South Dakota; Trifecta Productions and the Papermill Theatre in New Hampshire.

Joan was dedicated and very proud of her students and their achievements.   As one colleague said, “She was brilliant, kind, compassionate, supportive and hilarious. Her theater make-up and costuming skills were amazing. Whether you were a theater major or completely new to theater, she had a way of bringing out its magic.”

She leaves her mother, Pat, and sisters Jane, Maggie, Laura, and Pat to cherish her memory.

She will be very much missed by the students, faculty and staff in the school of Theatre and across the university.

“A sad day for all of us who knew and loved Joan St. Germain,” said Dr. Frances Hensley, retired associate vice president for academic affairs at Marshall, Monday in a Facebook post. “A fun, funny, mischievous woman who was also kind and caring and compassionate … My heart goes out to her Marshall colleagues and students and to her sweet mother and sisters.”

“Joan showed us all how to fight, enjoy life, laugh and perform with grace under pressure,” said Dr. Sarah Denman, retired provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Marshall. “Joan was one of a kind. She would light up the room like no one else with her smile and wicked wit … We can all cherish the memories of Joan St.Germain.”

“Joan was my colleague at Marshall, but more importantly, she was my friend,” said Jaye Toler, who worked at the College of Arts and Media, then known as the College of Fine Arts. “My friend who helped me alter my clearance wedding dress to fit me like a glove. No easy task— Venetian lace and a … ton of organza … And when she found out that my (very non-traditional) fiancé was hoping I’d wear a veil, she made me one to match!  .. I remember darting over to the Joan C. Edwards Playhouse during my lunch break. We’d cackle as she measured and pinned and promised it would be perfect. It was.”