Joan Kendra Eskau, 61, of San Diego, CA passed away peacefully on March 5th (2023) after a long illness. Her fun-loving free spirit is finally free from the burdens her physical body had placed on her for far too long. This artist, jazz singer, and comedian has performed her last gig and is now at peace.
From a young age Kendra showed an interest in the artistic and unconventional side of life. She was drawn to people who weren’t afraid to express themselves, and, in turn, she drew them toward her. She would always dress with a splash of color, sparkly pins, oversized jewelry and accessories, and often a French beret before that was popular. This was only fitting because it matched her self-described style, which she referred to as “complicated”. She always managed to make an entrance generally juggling too many notebooks, magazines, portfolios, and handbags, for one person to carry. As a child and young adult, while she rarely obeyed our mother’s orders without a fight, she ultimately followed in her footsteps by studying art and visual communications at the University of Wisconsin, and earning her BA degree. As an artist she worked in various mediums—drawing, painting, and sculpture. She had a talent for portraits, and created jewelry for many years. And let’s not forget about the abstract art she made out of dryer lint, which she presented at a show at the La Jolla Community Center. She idolized Picasso, Van Gogh, Dali, and Andy Warhol, as much for their iconoclastic lifestyle as for their art. She worked in sales at several fine art galleries in La Jolla, Ca. for many years. She enjoyed the salesmanship involved with the job, as much as talking about the art. But she wasn’t only an artist. She loved comedy and loved telling corny jokes. Our dad was always a bit of a jokester, and I am sure that that is where Kendra got her sense of humor. She loved camp, flamboyance, and over-the-top performances and the guts it takes to pull such things off. She was a big fan of Robbin Williams, Martin Short, Joan Rivers, Nathan Lane. In college she even tried her hand at standup comedy and Improv. She really loved her fellow comedians and enjoyed people “willing to put themselves out there,” as she would often say. And then there was her jazz singing. She had a natural ear for music and a smoky, lower register voice perfect for jazz standards. She professionally recorded several songs including a beautiful rendition of “Somewhere over the Rainbow.” She even performed once at Don’t Tell Mama’s in New York City. Her warmth, as well as her many talents and quirky, outspoken personality will be missed by us all.
Kendra is survived by her sister, Elizabeth Anthony (Tom), her brother Perry (Nancy), and her many long-time friends.