Joanne Lara

Joanne Lara

Tuesday, June 3rd, 1952 Tuesday, June 9th, 2020

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Obituary for Joanne Couch Lara

Joanne Couch Lara, age 68, passed away peacefully, surrounded by her family on June 9th, 2020, at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, CA. She was born on June 3, 1952, in Monticello, GA. She grew up in Tampa, FL where she graduated from the University of South Florida with a BFA in Dance. She moved to Los Angeles in 1985 to pursue her acting career. A professional dancer, classroom education specialist and a university professor. She dedicated her life’s work to improving the lives of individuals with autism through movement and dance. Her advocacy led to the founding of the nonprofit organization Autism Movement Therapy. Along with The Glorious Pies Truck, which gives youths with autism a job and a paycheck.
An inspiration to so many, she touched so many lives, especially the children she loved so very much.
She is survived by her family in Tampa, FL; Sister Natalie Stewart (husband Tom), Nieces Jennifer Stewart (great niece Victoria), Jessica Stewart (great nephews Nathan and Zack) and Nephew Jason Stewart. Along with all her cousins in FL and GA. She is predeceased by her parents Fred and Lois Couch.

Due to the current COVID pandemic, services will be postponed to a later date. There will be a virtual service held on June 27, 2020. Details to follow.

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in her name to:

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Joanne Couch Lara, please visit our Heartfelt Sympathies Store.
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Barbara Ligeti

Joanne - an unparalleled spirit. I have loved you as a friend for such a long time. Highlights include your training me to work with kids with Autism - also to understand how to deal with deaf kids when one was born into our family - with such a successful outcome in dealing with her life because of your direction. Will love you forever. Cherish your books, dvds, and the reputation and legacy that will linger certainly for my lifetime. Rest in peace my dear beautiful buddy. Barbara Ligeti
Comment | Posted at 11:09pm via Condolence

Alexis Kasai

Lexi Kasai & Stacey Kasai was in her Autism Works Now program Lexi Kasai for 2 years & Stacey Kasai was in it for 1 year.
Comment | Posted at 10:39am via Condolence

Ryan Stockstad

Very sad to hear of Joanne's passing. She truly made the world a better place through her dedication to improving the lives of people with autism. She'll be missed. R.I.P.
Comment | Posted at 04:46pm via Condolence

Debbie Cash Nelson

Now you know the secret Joanne.
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Comment | Posted at 10:10pm via Memorial Tree

Faith Butterfield

Joanne was the heart of our autism community which she founded Autism Movement Therapy to teach autistic children and adults how to move their bodies to the musical rhythm and she also founded Glorious Pies to raise money for autism advocacy and support. Joanne will be remembered for giving hope to me and others on the autism spectrum to function as normal human beings in our society through art, film, music, and dance.
Comment | Posted at 09:30pm via Condolence

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