Summarized by Anne Olshansky
When I started in corporate communications at IBM, they gave me a secretary to share, Joan, who announced that she was dating a Greek lawyer, whom she later married. Joan discovered my brother, John Capsis, in the Westport Phone Book, and the two families became fast, number-one friends.
Joan Simons Constantikes-Agnew, age 83, of Rockville, Maryland, beloved wife, mother, grandmother, sister, and aunt, died on October 5, 2017. Born in New York City, she was the eldest daughter of the late Gustave Simons and the late Edna R. Simons.
Joan grew up in Larchmont, New York and Weston, Connecticut. She graduated from Staples High School in Westport in 1952, and from Bennington College in 1956. In 1958, she married George D. Constantikes, a Westport attorney. They had four daughters. When asked to spell their last name, Joan often replied, “Think of having children all the time—constant tikes.”
During 44 years in Westport, Joan had two successful careers—first in magazine advertising, and then in life insurance, enjoying a long relationship with Northwestern Mutual (qualifying for its Million Dollar Round Table). Within her neighborhood, Green’s Farms, she led a successful effort to block shopping center developers from constructing a traffic-heavy entrance across from the local elementary school. She was an avid tennis player and swimmer, and enjoyed bridge and Broadway shows. Joan and George moved to Naples, Florida in 2002, and then to Wake Forest, North Carolina in 2006.
For her 50th Bennington Class Reunion, Joan submitted an autobiographical piece noting the effect her unusual senior project had on her life. The project involved translating Maxim Gorky’s Detstvo Gorkogo into English, and then imagining how Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, and James G. Frazer might have analyzed the tale had they been writing as creative literary masters. “How did this project contribute to my life later on?” she asked in her piece. “The answer—standards, discipline, style.”
Following George’s death in 2007, Joan rekindled a romance with her high school and college boyfriend, Bruce Agnew, a political journalist and editor. They married in 2011 and moved to Rockville in 2014, enjoying semi-retirement with romantic dinners, trips to Barnes & Noble, visiting Bruce’s daughter and other relatives, and European travel.
Joan was predeceased by one of her sisters. She is survived by her husband, her four daughters and stepdaughter, five grandchildren, three sisters and two brothers, and many nieces and nephews.
Joan’s intellect, generosity, kindness, and deep loyalty will be greatly missed by her loved ones and many friends. A private family memorial service was held on November 11th in Westport. Contributions in her memory may be sent to the American Cancer Society (cancer.org/donate / (800) 227-2345) or the Casey House of the Montgomery Hospice in Rockville, Maryland (montgomeryhospice.org/donate / (301) 921-4400).
This obituary was originally published in Westport News from November 8th to November 10, 2017. It has been edited by WestView News.