Joan Travis Obituary, 2020

TARA is sad to announce that on Monday June 1st 2020, an long-term friend and TARA supporter, Joan Travis, died in Los Angeles, California. She was 96 years old.

I am not sure  when I first met Joan but it is likely that I met her through Dr Mary Leakey, probably soon after Mary discovered the 3.7 million year old Laetoli footprints near Olduvai, Tanzania in the late 1980s. Joan was a close friend of Louis and Mary’s and a founding trustee of the Leakey Foundation. In the early years when Louis Leakey was trying to raise money for their projects at the Olduvai Gorge etc. in Tanzania, it was Joan who raised much of the funding through her network while arranging the lectures and promotional events that made it all possible. Joan was also a close friend and supporter of the now famous  women whom Louis recruited to work on the ape research projects he felt were  so important e.g. Jane Goodall (chimpanzees), Diane Fossey (gorillas), and Biruti Galdikas (orangutans).

Angela Fisher, Joan Travis, Carol Beckwith and me, Bowers Museum, Santa Ana, California, July 2018, after Carol and Angela’s lecture.

Through Mary‘s introduction, Joan Travis also helped me and TARA in many ways over the years and was home base whenever I went to Los Angeles. My last visit was in July 2018 when Angela Fisher and Carol Beckwith (2 of my oldest friends) were also in town to promote their latest book, African Twilight. Together with Joan, I went to Angela and Carol’s exhibition and lecture at the Bowers Museum and enjoyed a memorable evening. Joan always loved being a part of our team(s) and took huge pleasure in our achievements. She was one of the kindest people I have ever known and I shall miss her. She will be particularly missed by her daughter Cindy and her grandchildren.