Joy Geiselman Obituary

Joy Ann Geiselman
Joy Ann Geiselman

March 30, 1952 - May 16, 2019
Born in Elmhurst, Illinois
Resided in Anchorage, Alaska


Joy Ann Geiselman, 67, passed away at home in Anchorage, Alaska, on May 16, 2019, after a 15-year-battle with cancer. A Celebration of Life will be held at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 28, 2019, at the Hilltop Ski Area Chalet. Attendees are encouraged to bring a potluck dish to share.

Joy was born on March 30, 1952, in Elmhurst, Ill., to Roy and Esther Geiselman. She grew up in Springfield, Ill., graduating from Springfield High in 1970. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in biology from Carleton College in Northfield, Minn., in 1974, and a Ph.D. in biological oceanography from MIT/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in 1980.

While completing her doctorate, she met her future husband Peter Johnson. They wed in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, in 1981, before moving to Anchorage, where Joy began a long career with the Department of Interior. At the time of her retirement in 2012, she served as Deputy Chief of Biological Sciences at the USGS Alaska Science Center.

Joy's passions in life were family, her gardens and the natural environment. A devoted mother to her sons Matthew and Patrick, she passed on her love of nature to both. Her sons were accomplished Nordic skiers. Joy loved cheering at their races. She is also fondly remembered by two exchange students she hosted, Fredrik and Simone. With inspiration from Joy, both pursued science careers.

Joy's talent and love for gardening was reflected in the beautiful flowers and bountiful vegetables she grew. Joy cherished time with her sister Mary as the duo spent hundreds of happy hours gardening together.

Joy was inspirational during her long battle with cancer as she maintained a positive outlook and devoted her energy to friends and family. She contributed significantly to cancer research by participating in clinical trials for three therapies which gained approval from the FDA for cancer treatment.

Joy is preceded in death by her parents; and brothers, Roy and Bobby. She is survived by her husband, Peter Johnson; sons, Matthew and Patrick; brother, John and wife Sarah of Illinois; and sister, Mary Ott and husband Gary of Iowa.
Donations in her name can be made to The Great Land Trust at or

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Celebration of Life
Hilltop Ski Area
7015 Abbott Road
Anchorage, AK US 99507
Tuesday, May 28, 2019
6:00 PM
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Great Land Trust
715 L St., Suite 200
Anchorage, Alaska USA 99501
Great Land Trust is your local land trust—a non-profit organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters we love. We do it because we know that communities succeed when their ecosystems are robust. Driven by our shared connection to the land, we bring the strategic and scientific tools to conserve the purity of our drinking water, the integrity of fish and wildlife habitat, and access to public lands and waterways for all.