JoAnne Easterday

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FEATURE ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 11-18-01, By NORMA HIGGINS, Morning Journal Correspondent

``AVON -- JoAnne Easterday has a knack for using the gifts of Mother Nature to make gifts for people.

Using twigs, leaves, flowers, grains, or whatever natural product is at hand, she makes pictures of objects such as flowers and hearts.

''I'm not an artist. I wish I had that ability. I'm a craftsman. I put things together,'' she commented.

Easterday, 59, enthusiastically embraces all her interests, from teaching, gardening, selling furniture, raising a family to being an Avon City Council member and organizing wild flowers into pieces of art.

As a member of the Avon On The Lake Garden Club and Herb Guild, Easterday has access to the wealth in her own and others' gardens.

''During the spring and summer, I grow and pick a lot of flowers. I have many different book presses (to dry plants), but my favorite ones are telephone books,'' she laughed. ''I weight them down and I have all these stashing places.

''I like a flat flower. I like it to be almost as though it has been painted. I have no painting talent. I don't think of it as an art form. I'm assembling, putting together what God has grown and I put them together in pleasing shapes, that's what I do,'' she said.

''My aunt and uncle grow cucumbers, they don't eat them, but they keep me supplied with tendrils,'' she smiled. ''They put them in their phone book for two or three weeks and either mail or bring them up from Massillon.''

JoAnne Easterday shows one of her creations made from dried plants. (ROSS WEITZNER)

She never has any trouble finding materials for her projects even when she is away from home. Easterday has been known to stop along roadsides to pick plants.

Inside her home are evidence of another of her interests, this one related to her last name. There are rabbit pillows, models and pictures.

A friend once described Easterday's home as entering a hidden picture that you see in a book where you have to find a hidden object in nature, such as a rabbit.

Her creative nature is applied to city problems as well. ''When you come to the solution of a city problem, you use creativity. There are practical and creative ways of resolving a problem by examining the challenge,'' asserts Easterday.

She became addicted to Avon's Council meetings as a result of working as a reporter for the Avon Lake Press.

''Talking to people, finding out what makes them tick. I love to be informed of what's happening in the community and I loved that job on the newspaper better than anything I have ever done. Now it touches me when someone comes up and says, 'I remember you wrote.' ''

''I love reading, but I really read newspapers. I read them avidly. It gives you an appreciation for good newspaper writing. It's done on a quick turnaround, it's not like a novel where you have time to sit there and figure it out,'' she commented.

She is also enjoying the new pride and joy of her life, 20-month-old grandson, Ryan Kerrigan Easterday.

Easterday and her husband, Loren, raised two sons and have lived in Avon for 11 years. ''This is the longest I have ever lived in one place,'' because her husband's job as an engineer has moved them to different places.

''We have lived in a lot of different places and no place I ever lived did I want to leave,'' she explained. ''But after I got to a new place, I was OK. That's how I felt about Avon. When I came, I didn't want to, but now, I wouldn't want to go,'' she said.

"We have been privileged to live in very nice places, and Avon is a wonderful place to live." ... ''

Avon to 1974

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