October 5, 1931 - November 6, 2021
Joan was born October 5, 1931 as a fraternal twin to June Vithen at Mercy Hospital in San Diego. She grew up in Pacific Beach and graduated from La Jolla High School in 1949 earning the Fred Buck La Jolla Opera Guild Scholarship in voice. She went on to sing in the following productions: Starlite Opera including; Annie Get your Gun, Flower Drum Song both as a choir member and as an understudy. She was part of a 250-voice state college choir at Starlite Bowl, where they performed the Berlioz Requiem – Robert Shaw Director. She performed Madame Butterfly at Nazarene College. She also sang in many local piano bars during college and into her late 20s including: Stage Door on Crystal Pier, Chuck Wagon, Imperial House, Chiefs Club, Oahu, Hawaii and the Bahia with Buddy Reed as pianist. She once auditioned for Regis Philbin when he hosted a Saturday night talent show here in San Diego. She was a choir member of the All Hallows Catholic Church, Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church. She sang many weddings for family and friends over the years. Her accompanist and great friend was Marcibella Volz at Piano and Organ. Marcibella lived to be 100 and got her start playing the piano in silent movies. Joan attended Mercy College of Nursing from 1950-1953 where she served as Class President and Student Body President. After graduating and becoming an R.N. She worked at the Long Beach Veteran’s Hospital for the first 6 months, then 2 years for Dr. Phillip Mountjoy an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor. She went on to work for 37 years as an orthopedic surgical nurse and later as coordinator of orthopedics for her alma matter, Mercy Hospital. After she “retired” from Mercy Hospital she went on to work for another 17 years at the San Diego Ambulatory Surgical Center as Custodian of Medical Records. She finally retired at the age of 80. Joan met John D. Burich and their courtship was documented in a Union Tribune article where a local Federal Marshall was known to send a local surgical nurse fresh gardenia deliveries on a weekly basis. Apparently, his flower gestures were successful as Joan married John D. Burich on May 30, 1963. They lived in La Mesa for the next 30 years. John was a U.S Deputy Marshall and Joan was known to join him as a companion on several trips when he transported female prisoners. Joan later gave birth to daughter, Alecia Schwartz in 1964. Joan took great pleasure in providing after school care for her grandchildren, Ashley & Jonny as well as many of the neighborhood kids. She made sure to teach them to do their homework first, then later with how to win at cards! Joan was an avid rose gardener, a passion she passed on to her daughter Alecia and grandson Jon. The last couple of years, Joan loved to spend her free time doing adult coloring. She colored her own greeting cards and her art will be treasured by many. She was funny beyond belief and said whatever was on her mind. She loved whole heartedly and she will be missed by many in the San Diego Community. Joan passed away peacefully at home on November 6, 2021. She leaves behind, Daughter, Alecia Schwartz, Son-in-law, Brad Schwartz, Granddaughter, Ashley Schwartz, Grandson and his wife, Jon and Semone Schwartz. Stepson and his wife, John and Vicki Burich, Step-grandchildren Kristy Burich-Gilliland and William Burich. Joan will be interned with her late husband John D. Burich at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery at a later date. Joan has asked that in lieu of a service, that donations be made to Second Chance Dog Rescue in her name.
Joan was born October 5, 1931 as a fraternal twin to June Vithen at Mercy Hospital in San Diego. She grew up in Pacific Beach and graduated from La Jolla High School in 1949 earning the Fred Buck La Jolla Opera Guild Scholarship in voice. She... View Obituary & Service Information
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