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Joan Canty, Democratic Party activist

Joan Canty

Democratic Party activist

Joan Canty, 83, a Democratic Party activist who housed protesters in her Washington home during the Vietnam War and helped run an international exchange program for politicians and government officials, died of respiratory failure Aug. 12 at the Sunrise Senior Living facility in Washington.

The death was confirmed by her son Brendan Canty.

Joan McGowan was born in Seattle. In 1951, she graduated from what is now Holy Names University in Oakland, Calif.

She canvassed voters for John F. Kennedy in the 1960 presidential election, co-hosted a counter-inaugural ball at the 1969 inauguration of Richard M. Nixon and hosted protesters in Washington after the fatal shootings of protesting students at Kent State University in 1970.

From 1983 to 1989, she was executive vice president of the Atlantic and Pacific Exchange Program for officials from the United States, Japan and the Netherlands.

Her husband of 53 years, Donald Canty, died in 2005.

Survivors include seven children, Kevin Canty of Missoula, Mont., Dennis Canty of Seattle, Mary Canty of Tucson, Hilary Canty of Orcas Island, Wash., Brendan Canty and Siobhan Canty, both of the District, and James Canty of Brooklyn; a brother; and 11 grandchildren.

— Bart Barnes

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