Joan Fine Bloch died peacefully at her Montclair home on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020 after a 14-year battle with a variety of blood cancers. She was 84 and a resident of Montclair since 1971.
Born in 1936 and raised in The Bronx, a heritage she was always proud of, she graduated from Brooklyn College in 1957 with a B.A. degree in English and began her career as an English teacher at Willoughby Junior High School in Brooklyn. She made little fuss during that time about an extraordinary ability to remember students’ names. On the first day of class, she asked each student to state his or her name. She would close her eyes and allow them to change places. Then she would proceed to call each student by name.
Mrs. Bloch continued to teach after her marriage in 1962 to Eugene Bloch, who survives her. She retired from teaching in 1965 after the birth of the first of her two sons, but resumed her career in 1979 after they were well along their own life paths. She worked in a special program at Montclair High School with students who for various reasons could not adapt to a regular classroom. She also served as a teacher to homebound students with physical or emotional issues, and was always able to make meaningful connections with them.
She finished her career in education with an 11-year association beginning in 1998 with the Adult School of Montclair, first as a volunteer board member and then as assistant to the school’s director. After retiring in 2009, she continued her service to the Montclair community by teaching English as a Second Language to students on a one-on-one basis.
In addition to these volunteer activities, she was the Calendar of Events Chair for the May In Montclair organization, a lifelong member of the League of Women Voters, a volunteer for the Human Needs Food Pantry, and an incorrigible spoiler of her three grandchildren.
In addition to her husband, Mrs. Bloch is survived by her son Gene Paul Bloch, his wife, Jennifer, and their two children, Anna and John of New York, N.Y.; and her son Jeffrey Frank Bloch, his wife, Jodi, and their daughter, Julianna, of Birmingham, Ala. She also is survived by a brother, Dr. Paul Fine of Omaha, Neb., as well as four nieces and nephews.
Services, probably via Zoom, will be announced at a later date. The family requests those who wish to express sympathy to consider making a donation to Human Needs Food Pantry humanneedsfoodpantry.org in Mrs. Bloch’s name.