Through the years, Ms. Krajewski often could be found holding court at her favorite neighborhood diner, The Dining Car, on Frankford Avenue.
"It was always, 'Meet me at The Dining Car for breakfast,' " said her daughter-in-law, Anne Krajewski. "She did a lot of business there."
Friends and colleagues said she epitomized the toughness of her blue collar district, dominated by river wards.
Councilman James F. Kenney, who described Ms. Krajewski as "Mrs. Northeast," once made the mistake of introducing a resolution honoring someone from her district without checking with her first.
"My first year in '92, she took me to the woodshed and never had to take me there again," he said.
Councilman Brian J. O'Neill, who joined Council with Ms. Krajewski in 1980, described her as possessing "unbelievably good instincts" in dealing with other elected officials.
"She was as politically street smart as anyone," he said.
She was born in Port Richmond, one of 10 children raised by a stay-at-home mother and a father who worked as a chemist in a dye factory.
She got her start in politics as a Republican committeewoman, but switched parties to back former Mayor Frank L. Rizzo in the 1970's. (She remained one of the more conservative members of Council throughout her career.)
Ms. Krajewski eventually became the Democratic leader of the 65th Ward - a position she held until earlier this summer.
She was elected to Council with Rizzo's support in 1979, coming into office with six other freshmen, a huge turnover that remade Council just months before the Abscam scandal toppled former Council President George X. Schwartz.
Mayor Nutter first met Ms. Krajewski in the early 1980s, when he was working for another Council member, the late John Anderson.
"They were great friends, and over the years I came to know her as straightforward and honest, sometimes brutally so, and a real friend who gave me help and guidance," Nutter said. "She was a person whose word you could really trust."
Council President Darrell L. Clarke, who was an assistant Council sergeant-at-arms when he met Ms. Krajewski, described her as "a great champion of Northeast Philadelphia. She was an unfailingly supportive colleague. And more importantly, she was my friend."
One secret to her popularity was never taking herself too seriously. She always reminded people that you had to have a sense of humor to thrive in politics.
O'Neill recalled how she and former Councilman Jack Kelly "almost had a comedy routine," pulling practical jokes on one another for years. Kelly's were usually successful; Ms. Krajewski's not so much.
"She would always say, 'This one, I'm going to get him,' " O'Neill said.
Inquirer columnist Steve Lopez tagged Ms. Krajewski and the late Councilwoman Ann Land as "the Boom-Boom sisters." The nickname stuck - and Ms. Krajewski loved it.
She and O'Neill once conspired with Lopez to hijack former Council President Joe Coleman's "Councilmobile," a Ford van customized for constituent services but never put into service.
Ms. Krajewski, with characteristic candor, called the vehicle "ridiculous."
"Joan was a character and true original, and stealing Joe Coleman's 'Councilmobile' with her was among the highlights of my time in Philadelphia," said Lopez, now with the Los Angeles Times. "I'm sending regards to her family and raising a glass for Joan."
U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, who was once Council's sergeant-at-arms and now leads the city's Democratic Party, called her one of the dying breed of "old school" politicians.
"The old school, you'd shake a hand and it's over," he said.
Brady said it was hard for her to give up leadership of her ward, which was assumed by her successor in Council, Bobby Henon.
"The lady that she was, she knew she couldn't serve the committee people," Brady said.
Henon praised Ms. Krajewski for two decades of friendship, including many late-night conversations as she dispensed advice on her beloved Sixth District.
Anne Krajewski said those conversations with Henon enlivened her mother-in-law, even in declining health.
"What always gave her vigor and enthusiasm was what was going on at City Council, her friends, anything that was happening in the community," Henon said.
MS. Krajewski is survived by three sons, Casimer, Michael, and Thomas, and five grandchildren.
Viewings will be held at the John F. Givnish Funeral Home at 10975 Academy Rd. on Tuesday from 5:30 to 9 p.m. and on Wednesday from 8 to 9:30 a.m.
A Funeral Mass will follow on Wednesday at Christ the King Parish at 3252 Chesterfield Rd. Burial will follow at Resurrection Cemetery in Bensalem.
Contact Bob Warner at 215-854-5885 or firstname.lastname@example.org.