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Weldon, Joann, 1931-2001



  • Existence: 1931 - 2001


Joann Faith Weldon was born in 1931 in Iowa City, Iowa. She was adopted as an infant by Ralph and Mary Weldon from the Annie Wittenmyer Home in Davenport, Iowa, and was raised in Ottumwa, Iowa. Ralph Weldon and Mary Loomis Weldon were married in 1928. Ralph Weldon was a typesetter for the Ottumwa Courier; he died in 1949. Mary Weldon taught school in Ottumwa; she died in 1974.

Joann Weldon graduated from Ottumwa High School in 1950. Following graduation, Weldon worked at the ammunition plant in Middletown, Iowa, until around 1953, when she was recruited to play field hockey for the State University of Iowa (now the University of Iowa). Weldon dropped out of the University after one year. During the early 1950s, Weldon began to acknowledge publicly her lesbian identity, and adopted a style of dress and behavior that her friends described as masculine. After 1954, Weldon worked a series of jobs in Des Moines, Iowa, including work at an amusement park and driving a cab.

Weldon settled in Davenport in 1962. She worked as a cab driver until 1977, then as a Davenport city bus driver until 1987. She retired in 1987 due to disability. Weldon was a member of the Mattachine Society of Davenport. According to friends, she was an Ayn Randist, a supporter of the John Birch Society and the National Rifle Association, an avid chess player, a writer, a fan of classical music, a volunteer for the AIDS Coalition, and a mentor to young lesbians in the Quad Cities region of Iowa and Illinois.

Joann Weldon and Gwyn Charleton were partners for approximately seven years. The two remained friends until Weldon's death. Sharon Rash and Joann Weldon were united in holy union in 1988 in Davenport; they were partners for fourteen years. Joann Weldon died in 2001 from complications of diabetes and Parkinson's disease.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Joann Weldon papers

Identifier: IWA0521

A resident of Davenport from 1962, Weldon publicly acknowledged her lesbian identity during the early 1950s.

Dates: 1920-2003