Somebody once said that if you don’t know history, you don’t know anything – you are a leaf that doesn’t know it is part of a tree.
That’s an interesting observation, and one that would not come as a surprise to our next recipient, Joann Wilson. She knows history, and she knows at least one tree. Let me explain.
Joann Wilson has lived here forever, and actually attended the Edward Kelley School with her siblings in the 1930s. But not all people who have lived here that long have devoted as much of themselves to preserving our history as has Joann.
As part of her work with the Rancho Cordova Historical Society, Joann has become an unofficial documentarian, recording more than 100 oral histories of pioneers of our community. Teaching herself how to operate camera, scanning and other equipment, Joann and her helpers have painstakingly interviewed and video-taped the stories of Rancho Cordovans from all walks of life who have made Rancho Cordova the place it is today.
Her passion for preservation is legendary. Her tireless commitment to the preservation of the Edward Kelley School on Bradshaw Road is an example of her dedication to the cause. Ask yourself this: Do I know whatever happened to your elementary school? Joann not only knows… she is a passionate protector of what she sees as an incredible historical asset.
Her dedication to keeping history alive even extends to a rare, wild pink almond tree from Folsom Boulevard. The tree is known as “Kiyo’s Tree,” preserved by Kiyo Sato, a local resident and author, who is also a local treasure. Joann is making sure that cuttings from this spectacular plant, which represents Rancho Cordova early years and the Japanese farmers who tilled the land here, are never forgotten and will live on forever.
Joann can be found helping with displays at local events, sharing historical memories at the Rancho Cordova Library and writing articles for community papers.
Many people marvel at Joann’s dedication to preserving local history, but none more than her son, Ron Hall. In joining others to nominate Joann for Distinguished Community Service, he wrote:
“Joann’s passion for preserving local history makes her a critical link to Rancho Cordova’s past… she is living history and a community asset. Joann Wilson has reminded all of us of our past, while showing us all how great the future can be.”
Congratulations to Joann Wilson, teacher, historian, and friend; a community treasure and passionate keeper of the “Story of Us.”