Marina del Rey resident Hilberta Elizabeth (Joan) Dahlin, a longtime educator who taught at St. Mark’s Catholic School in Venice and St. Monica Elementary School in Santa Monica, has died. She was 84.

Dahlin passed away peacefully Sunday, August 9th with her family gathered by her side.

She was born September 26th, 1924 in Tarkio, Missouri to Gertrude Leoline Kaufman and Lyman Henry Sommer.

Dahlin and her younger sister, MaryAnn, traveled the world with their parents. The sisters attended boarding school in Wichita, Kansas and graduated from Holy Family High School in Glendale, California.

After graduation, with the news of the Pearl Harbor attack, Dahlin joined the Women’s Ambulance and Defense Corps of America. She was believed to be one of the first women to become a full-time State Guard member, her family said. Dahlin subsequently received her bachelor and master degrees from Northwestern University in Illinois.

She met her future husband, Carl Roy Dahlin, a US Marine, at a USO dance in Santa Barbara. They married in February 1945 and settled in Santa Monica until they took up residence on Harding Avenue in Venice, where the couple lived for the next 50 years and raised their ever-expanding family. Dahlin called her family a great source of her pride and joy.

Dahlin, who was known as “Mrs. D” by her students, was a beloved teacher. When the youngest of her eight children entered kindergarten, Dahlin began her long and storied career in the classroom. She touched generations of families as a sixth grade teacher at St. Mark’s Catholic School in Venice and then as a teacher and librarian at St. Monica Elementary School in Santa Monica where she remained until her retirement, her family said.

Dahlin received numerous awards and accolades for her achievements, including Outstanding Elementary School Teacher and Teacher of the Year as well as being honored for serving 54 years in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

Dahlin will be remembered for her strong Catholic faith, her adventurous spirit, her love of traveling (both home and abroad), her sharp sense of humor and sense of fun, her family said.

Family members also remember her selflessness and generosity of spirit, her preservation (insistence) of correct grammatical use in the English language and the positive impact she had on the lives of countless people.

She will be sorely missed and fondly remembered by all who knew and loved her.

Joan was preceded in death by her husband, Carl Roy Dahlin, her sister, Mary Ann Sommer and her granddaughter, Jennifer Dahlin.

Dahlin is survived by her children Roy Anthony, Karl Hilbert (Janet), Jon Kristin (Theresa), George Kurtis (Irma), Erick Joseph, Mary Leolyn Carl (Bradford), Mark Thomas (Kerry), Karin Marie Dahlin, Lisa Ann Reid (Steve), David Dahlin Glover (Vanessa), Bob Fuhrmann; 24 grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.

Services are scheduled at 1:30 p.m. Friday, August 14th, at St. Monica Catholic Church in Santa Monica. Celebration of her life will take place at the Santa Monica Women’s Club.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Freedom Fields USA ( or Water Wells for Africa (