Joan Louise (Zellem) Zerfoss, 79, died May 11, 2012, with family and friends by her side at Sarah Reed Retirement Center. Undying are the memories of her positive, "never quit" attitude, her friendliness to all and her devotion to family. She is the youngest daughter of Bessie (Baba) and Theodore Zellem's 12 children, born on July 7, 1932, in Listie, near Somerset. She graduated as her high school valedictorian and married Eugene E. Zerfoss. Joan was a writer for the Somerset American and authored an auto biography, "Living with Our Genes
." She also worked for the Meadville Tribune, the Girl Scout office in Meadville, and the Orange County Health Department, from which she retired at age 69. Despite a three-year battle with ovarian cancer
, she lived independently, most recently in Gallatin, Tenn., where she worked part time in a senior center until just a few months before her passing. She loved music and played trumpet and organ. She was preceded in death by her husband, Eugene E. Zerfoss; and her granddaughter, Chelsey Joanne O'Neill; also her siblings: Mike Zellem, Mary Mackinich, Anna Pritts, Nick Zellem, Lucy Bedzik, Steve Zellem and Theodore Zellem. Joan is survived by five children: Judy McFadden, Andover, Mass.; Nancy O'Neill, Erie; Eugene Zerfoss, Jr., Orlando, Fla.; Attorney Jill (Robert) Grim, Hendersonville, Tenn.; and Melody (Michael) Gaeta, Boston
, Mass. Grandchildren are Brady, Casey, Judy, and Shannon O'Neill, Erie, and Alex and Brian Grim, Hendersonville, Tenn. Surviving siblings are: Rose Dofner, George Zellem, and Paul Zellem. Friends may call from 2 to 5 and 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday at the Brugger Funeral Homes & Crematory, 1595 West 38th St., Erie. A service will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the funeral home with the Rev. Lee Pomeroy of Summit United Methodist Church officiating. Memorials may be made to the John Kanzius Research Foundation, 130 West 8th St., Erie, PA 16501 or the LECOM Scholarship Fund, 1858 West Grandview, Erie, PA 16509. Condolences at bruggerfuneralhomes.com.