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Powell, WY

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Joanie Marie Hanebury Davison

(Sept. 10, 1947 - Feb. 17, 2013)

Joanie Marie Hanebury Davison died in her sleep on Sunday morning, Feb. 17, 2013 at the University of Colorado Hospital in Denver, Colo. Joanie lived with her husband and partner Mitch Davison on their farm near Powell. She was 65 years young.

Joanie was born on Sept. 10, 1947 in Brooklyn, N.Y. Her early childhood was in the same three-story house that her mother Marie Struzzieri Hanebury (1912-2011) was born in. Her father Raymond Hanebury (1916-1977) emigrated from an English-Irish community of St. John’s, Newfoundland.

In 1956, Raymond moved Joanie and her brother Louis (1950) to Elmont, Long Island, N.Y., and she graduated from Elmont Memorial High School in 1965. Joanie was an art and design student. Her drawings, however, were of animals and horses. She went to work for a New York department store as a window dresser for a while, but eventually took a job at Aqueduct and Belmont race tracks as a groom and walker. She worked at Belmont during the 2- and 3 year-old campaigns of champion thoroughbred racehorse Foolish Pleasure.  Here she acquired significant knowledge about horses, trainers and breeders. 

Joanie moved to Ocala, Fla., and worked on a horse breeding farm which led her to a job raising Appaloosas near Rifle, Colo. The ranch eventually moved to Dayton, Wyo. Joanie’s search for who she was led her temporally to California. 

That adventure brought her back to Cody, and close to her brother Louis who lived in Meeteetse, working on the Black Footed Ferret re-introduction. She worked various jobs including laying track for the Burlington Northern Railroad and security guard for the Cody Museum. Joanie was also the dutiful daughter and welcomed her mother Marie in her life’s travels. Joanie’s search for who she was finally ended when she met Mitch Davison, a widower with two young sons. For the next 27 years she and Mitch raised two boys and ran a farm and cattle operation eventually encompassing 700 irrigated acres across 20 miles.

Joanie discovered that Foolish Pleasure had retired to a ranch in Wyoming. The Vanderhoefs, owners of the ranch, struck up a new relationship with Joanie and gave her a thoroughbred mare in foal to start her own Foolish Dream Farm. As a member of the American Quarter Horse Association, she created an amazing website and raised quality quarter horse/thoroughbred weanling prospects that were built for speed. She sold foals across the U.S. and Canada.

Joanie was the dutiful mother, cook, nurse, chauffeur, parts-chaser and truck driver. Although busy 24/7 with helping with the farm, Joanie was the consummate interior decorator — always remodeling and painting. She was a student of the Internet. If she didn’t know how to do something, she would research on the web until the project was accomplished.  

She discovered that her father, who was in eight campaigns in WWII, was awarded many medals that he never did receive. What would have been history lost, she acquired for her nephews.

Joanie and Mitch loved to take their dogs and/or horses on trips to the Big Horn or Pryor Mountains. The Pryors were her favorite and they enjoyed a few select spots that were special to them. Joanie and Mitch were able to go on their second vacation ever to Glacier National Park in September of 2012 which she enjoyed immensely.

Perhaps the quality that most did not know was that Joanie would think of those who others did not. She was there for many when they were sick or needed help. She would write letters and include photos or send earrings or little gifts and say “I thought you would like these” or “I thought of you when I saw this.” She was one who did not advertise her sacrifices or good deeds. Joanie kept in touch with friends and relatives and sent reminders that she knew and cared. Joanie shared all that she did by sending Internet links on how to remodel this, how to fix this aliment, look at what we did ... all fully illustrated in photos. Her loved ones will miss her letters, her cards, her gifts and her almost daily email.

Joanie is survived by her husband Mitch and his dad Duane Davison; her boys Tyler and Josh, their wives Brandy and Autumn and grandkids: Colby and Melynda, and Hailey, Zoey, Mckayla and baby Ashlynn; her brother “Louieee”, his wife Bridget and nephews Eaon and Connor. Her dogs Gus and Arwen miss her very much.

A memorial service will take place at the New Life Church in Powell at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, March 1. Please come and join in sharing your memories of Joanie.

Donations in her honor can be made to Old Friends (a race horse retirement home in Kentucky).


  • posted by Kathy (Ficarra) Donovan

    June 16, 2016 9:39 am

    I have been trying to find Joanie for at least 5 years through the facebook pages and internet. Only by chance, did one of our other friends, just now sent me this beautiful story of Joanie's life. It appears she lived life to the fullest and that makes me really happy. I remember well the hours and hours we spent in her basement and mine in Elmont, NY speaking about anything and everything. I remember too that she was into horses - and glad to see that's how she found happiness in her later life. I am sad that I never found Joannie before today.

  • posted by Chappel Fisher

    September 03, 2013 11:44 am

    I am so sad to know that my dear friend Joanie has passed away. I met Joanie on-line because of her love for Foolish Pleasure which was owned by my Great Uncle John. I've been e-mailing her for over 10 years now and when I didn't hear back from her, I started searching. I'm very sad. She always put a smile on my face and had such a caring heart towards animals. My prayers to her family. She really touched my heart.

  • posted by Gordon, Stacey, Alicia and Joel Love - Prattville, Alabama

    July 23, 2013 11:43 am

    Mitch and family
    I came across this news today completely by accident and our hearts are broken. Joanie was a wonderful woman that shared our love of horses. She was my friend, and made my daughters heart soar the day we brought home Solari. She rubbed off on my daughter and she has continued to soar since that very day we were on your ranch. We loved Joanie as family and will miss her terribly. This was a beautful tribute to her wonderful life. Prayers for each of you.

  • posted by Barbara House Laughlin

    February 28, 2013 11:46 am

    My love and kindest regards to you, Mitch, Josh, Tyler and families in your time of loss.
    Thank you for the beautiful tribute to Joanie, I've learned so much more about her.
    My heart goes out to you.

  • posted by Shannon and SFC David Jurpik

    February 28, 2013 11:42 am

    While joanie and I never met I shall miss her immensely...her grace and strength got me through MANY restless days during the deployment of my husband to Afghanistan. I am shocked and saddened at her death and will miss her dearly. She regalled me with more race horse stories than I could imagine and was a constant source of love and friendship to me in a very short period of time. I VERY much looked forward to meeting her face to face one day so I could hug her in person. Now I flood the Heavens with endless hugs just for her.
    My heart goes out to her husband, family, and friends and I hope they can have comfort knowing she was such an amazingly wonderful part of their lives. Keeping them all in my prayers.
    I wish I could attend her memorial (I am in WA state) but instead will send Old Friends a donation in her memory.
    Rest In Peace Dear Joanie...You touched my heart & I shall miss you always....

  • posted by chris S. and nick too.

    February 28, 2013 9:01 am

    i won't be able to attend the memorial but i sure do have a few good memories of Joanie. She was a most remarkable woman. my prayers are with you, Mitch and Josh and Tyler. love you all. chris

  • posted by Steve Nancy Cerroni

    February 27, 2013 6:24 am

    Mitch and Family,
    Can't tell you how sorry we are to hear of Joanie's passing. We read this in disbelief. I am so thankful to have shared her love of horses and to have learned so much from her about them. Her excitement about the foals and gaining her trust to haul them for her when needed.
    What a wonderful soul that just landed in Heaven.

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