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Joan Hill Schifferdecker, 89

Joan (Joanie) Hill Schifferdecker, 89, of Washington, D.C., passed away peacefully, surrounded by family, on July 4, 2024, from complications related to Parkinson's Disease.

Joanie was born on February 25, 1935 to Robert Hill (Doc Hill) and Edith Hesli. While born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, she was raised in Whitehall, Montana.

Joanie graduated from Whitehall High School in 1952, and subsequently went on to study Music (Voice) at the Boston Conservatory of Music, becoming a member of Pi Kappa Lambia, the National Musical Honorary Society.

After graduating from the Conservatory (Honors with Distinction), Joanie started singing with the San Francisco Opera Company, appearing in over 300 performances and 35 operas. Concurrently and for much of the rest of her life, Joanie worked a wide range of clerical jobs, from editor to office manager.

In 1962, Joanie married Robert (Bob) Fajardo in San Francisco, California. Joanie and Bob went on to live in Chicago and have two children, Matthew and Susanna. During this time Joanie began performing in community concert and theater productions, a pastime she relished throughout much of her life.

In 1979, Joanie married Arnold (Arnie) Schifferdecker and established Washington, D.C., as their home base. Arnie was a US Foreign Service Officer, and Joanie and Arnie spent decades overseas, including extended postings in Turkey, Pakistan, and Morocco. In 1995, Joanie and Arnie returned to Washington where they enjoyed a life of family, friends, and travel.

Joanie lived her life fully and with zest. While overseas, she immersed herself in the language and culture of the countries she visited, and she took part in horseback riding and musical productions wherever there was opportunity. Joanie also took an active role in support groups, drawing on her natural ability to be genuine, thoughtful, and caring. Most importantly, Joanie cultivated many deep and enduring friendships, which spanned the globe as well as time.

Joanie is predeceased by her husband, Arnie Schifferdecker, and her siblings Nicolas Hill, Linda Hill Chambers, and Andrea Hill Workman. She is survived by her children Matthew Fajardo and Susanna (Anton Pav) Fajardo, her grandchildren Isabel and Zoe Pav, and her cousin Peggy (Bob) Hoekenga. Joanie is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews: Cindy Hill White, Cheri Hill McConnell, Keith Hill, Churon Hill McCombs, Troy Buhl, Craig Buhl, and Scott Anderson.

Memorial donations may be made to the Parkinson's Foundation of the National Capital Area, 3570 Olney Laytonsville Road #490, Olney, MD 20830-7521 ( Joanie was active in and took great comfort from their support group.

Condolences and tributes may be posted on the on-line guest book at


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