Joan Barbara (Alt) York, formerly of Rockford, passed away on January 20, 2012, in California. Joan, known as Joey, was the widow of Dick York, the actor who played the first Darrin on “Bewitched.” The Yorks lived in Rockford, at the home of her parents, John and Cleona Alt, from 1985 until Dick’s death in 1992, after which Joey remained in the Belding Road home until 2008, when she moved back to California to be close to family.
Joey was a model for Coca-Cola, Seventeen magazine, and other clients; a radio and television actress; a poet; a lover of language and master of wordplay; a wellspring of loving, sage advice; and the embodiment of grace under pressure. She met Dick when she was 12 and he was 15. The story of their romance and their struggles is told in “The Seesaw Girl and Me,” her husband’s memoir, for which she penned the foreword. Dick called Joey his seesaw girl, and wrote: “Love, Joey. I’ve learned about love, Joey. Not in a book. Not over the radio or in a movie. I’ve watched it in you since I’ve known you.” Joey wrote: “We had many tough times in our life—a lot of ups, a lot of downs. But Dick and I managed to be together and smile through all of them… Even in the most horrible circumstances, it was a charming, wonderful, exciting existence I shared with Dick.”
Besides her parents and husband, Joey was predeceased by her daughter Amanda. She is survived by four children: Kimberly, Christopher, Stacie and Matthew; many grandchildren; her sister-in-law and nieces; and a host of friends and admirers who join in mourning her passing. An informal service is being planned to celebrate Joey’s life and to express loving gratitude for her inspirational strength, her joyful humor, and her compassionate heart.