Joan Lou O’Rear (nee Ferguson)

Nov. 27, 1921 – May 15, 2013

Joan Lou O’Rear (nee Ferguson) of New Berlin passed away at the age of 91 on Wednesday, May 15, 2013, at Waukesha Memorial Hospital surrounded by her family.

She was born in Indianapolis on Nov. 27, 1921, the daughter of Chester Robert and Lou Etta (Davis) Ferguson. Joan attended the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York City, N.Y., studying acting and theater arts, where some of her classmates were Efrem Zimbalist Jr., Gregory Peck, Tony Randall and Eli Wallach.

She was united in marriage to Joseph Lucas O’Rear on May 3, 1942, at the Washington Square Methodist Church in Greenwich Village, N.Y. Joan and Joseph made their home in Sioux Falls, S.D., Windsor Field, Utah, and Grand Island, Neb., where she had been employed by J.C. Penney. They also lived in New York City, where she had been employed at a printer’s publishing house. They later made their home in Frankfort, Ind., and Michiana Shores, Ind. While living in Homewood, Ill., Joan was a drama instructor at Don Brassie School of Dance. She produced and directed plays for the Homewood Women’s Club, where her group won first place many times in state competitions. She was a 24-year volunteer at Oak Forest Community Hospital, assisting longterm care patients with writing poetry as well as participating in the hospital’s televised bingo. She was also in charge of the annual Oak Forest Community Hospital Stage Show. Joan had been a volunteer at a Michigan City soup kitchen as well as delivering for Meals on Wheels. Joan enjoyed dancing, spending time outdoors, especially walking to the beach and enjoying nature, cooking and entertaining, acting and spending time with her family and friends, especially in both Homewood and Michiana Shores. Joan followed her Christian Science faith throughout her life.

Joan is survived by her loving husband of 71 years, Joseph; two daughters, Mary Michele of Lake Bluff, Ill., and Annetta Hubata of Waukesha; two grandchildren, Lauren Pyburn of Corvallis, Ore., and David Tobey of Chicago; and one great-granddaughter, Kate Pyburn. Also surviving are nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

She was preceded in death by her parents; one sister, Mary Griffin; and four brothers, Richard, William, Henry and Robert Ferguson.

In accordance with Joan’s wishes, cremation has taken place. A memorial service will take place at a later date in Michigan City, Ind.

Cesarz, Charapata, & Zinnecker Funeral Home, Cremation and Pre-planning Services is serving the family. For an online obituary or to leave a message of condolence, please visit, or call 542-6609.