East Dennis MA, Joan Mary Abbott died peacefully on January 19, 2013 at Epoch Nursing Home.
Born Joanne O'Reilly in Rochester, NY on February 21, 1917 to Bernard and Frances (Dwyer) O'Reilly. Attended Sacred Heart Convent and graduated from Nazareth College in Rochester, NY. She met John Abbott in 1936 at a Catholic Worker meeting in St. Josephs House of Hospitality in Rochester. Joan and John remained active "Catholic Workers" until 1942. Married John Newman Abbott MD on June 10, 1944.
Joan was a loving and devoted mother of 8 children, an indomitable spirit, managing a substantial household through tumultuous times. She had a bright smile, a sincere laugh, and a fine, dry sense of humor. She enjoyed politics and was a willing participant in political debate with neither self-righteousness nor meanness but with determination. Her big dinners were often accompanied by interesting conversations. She was a keen observer of gender issues and sought throughout her life to reconcile her experience with the traditions of her upbringing. Her advocacy of social justice issues and defense of civil rights were courageous. Her views were sought by parish priests, mayors, and state representatives.
Joan read widely. She enjoyed novels, biographies, and informed discussions of current events. A bridge enthusiast, a daunting Scrabbler, great at crossword puzzles, a lover of words who liked to keep a good dictionary in easy reach. She cherished the family vacations on Muskoka Lake, Ontario where she relaxed and read surrounded by family and friends.
She is survived by five children John Newman of East Dennis, MA; Christine Anastasia of Philadelphia, PA; David of Providence, RI; Mark Matthew and (Diana) of Dundas, MN; Paul Geoffrey and (Petra Schulz) of Frankfurt, Germany; daughter-in-law Jennifer (Keller) of Gurnee, IL; niece Margot Callahan of East Hartford, CT and nephew Terence O'Reilly of Long Beach, CA. Survived by nine grandchildren. Preceded in death by her devoted husband John of 59 years, sons William Ashton and Jeremy, daughter Joan Mary, and four siblings Bernard, Mary (Callahan), Eileen (Brescia) and Francis.
May she rest in peace.
Funeral mass will be celebrated Saturday February 9, 2013, 11:00 a.m. at Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church, Centerville, MA. Private interment to follow.