Joan Adel Lankford | 1934 – 2018

Joan A. Lankford passed away on Jan. 2, 2018, at the age of 83. She passed peacefully in her home that she loved, in the company of friends.

Joan was born in Yakima to Walt and Florence Pyeatt on Nov. 22, 1934. Growing up there, Joan taught swimming, practiced ballet and helped her parents run the family store.

After high school, Joan attended the University of Washington, where she met her late husband Richard Lankford. She was a member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business.

After they married, Joan and Dick lived in Innis Arden where together they built their home and raised their two sons, Scott and Blake.

Joan returned to the University of Washington in the early 70s where she received a degree in landscape architecture. Joan was the first woman from the UW to be licensed as a landscape architect and the first in the state of Washington to be licensed through the accredited licensing program. After graduation, Joan worked for the City of Renton as their landscape architect, where she was instrumental in the creation of the Cedar River Trail System, the Gene Coulon Memorial Park and the development standards that formed the present-day city of Renton.

Joan and Dick shared a love of sailing, building, and adventure. They sailed the U.S. and Canadian San Juans, and throughout the Inland Passage, first in a 28-foot sailboat they built, and later in their sailboat Prismatic Thunder. During this time they fell in love with the San Juan Islands, and in the early 1990s made San Juan Island their home where they lived until their deaths.

Joan never stopped learning. She was a Master Gardener and had a deep knowledge of plants, that she enjoyed sharing. Joan was also a master at decorating and planning. She was a great hostess, always going the extra mile to make guests comfortable. Joan loved to read and knit. We cherish the sweaters, blankets and hats that she gifted us through the years. They were truly works of art

Joan is survived by their two sons, Scott Lankford and Blake Lankford (wife Nancy), and three grandchildren, Rea, Andrew and Natasha. She is deeply missed.

In spring there will be a celebration of life. Please sign our guestbook online at or contact Scott Lankford at for details.

Remembrances may be made as donations to San Juan Island, Performing Theater of the Arts, Friday Harbor.