Joan Patricia (Thompson) Wickham of Lee, Massachusetts passed away peacefully on May 15th, after a long illness.
Joan was born in Pittsfield, MA on March 18, 1933. The treasured only child of James Joseph Thompson and Margaret Rita (Wells) Thompson of Lee, she was always the apple of her family’s eye. She was educated at St Mary’s School in Lee and graduated from Lee High School in 1951 before attending Framingham State University, where she studied nursing.
In August, 1954 she married Thomas James Wickham of Lee and they settled in Smithtown, NY where she and Tom raised their family. An only child, Joan dreamed of having a large family and together she and Tom proudly raised six children. Joan was the center of her family’s home life. Organizing and managing her brood of six, she was a complex combination of drill sergeant and Mary Poppins - our biggest cheerleader, our hard truth teller, and our gentle helper when most needed. With six kids Joan was an enthusiastic but terrible cook and her traditional burning of the rolls at every holiday meal will be lovingly remembered by all who will miss her at our tables.
Joan had a passion and exuberance for life. She loved to meet people, to talk, hear their stories, to explore. She was endlessly curious. Joan was a dedicated and life-long community volunteer. She served for over two decades as a Lee Town Representative and proudly volunteered for the Lee Chamber of Commerce from 1998 until 2018. Joan loved volunteering for the Chamber and her beautiful smile welcomed many a visitor to Lee. In 2013, she was named the Chamber’s “Volunteer of the Year” and in 2019 was recognized by the Town with their “Inspiration at 80” Award. She cherished the recognition of her hard work.
In 2000, Joan began to winter in Florida and it was there Joan and Tom enjoyed their golden years. She loved beach shelling, lunching by the water, golfing, fishing off the pier and watching the sunset. She was a dedicated volunteer at the Peace River Wildlife Sanctuary, where she loved giving tours to school children and feeding the center’s injured and wild birds. Joan loved all things baseball and Red Sox, and spent many an afternoon enjoying spring training games with a hot dog and beer in hand, in Port Charlotte, FL. She was also a big football fan, cheering for both the New England Patriots and the Lee High School Wildcats each season.
Joan was an avid traveler and her passion for travel was unmatched in her family. She was full of curiosity to discover new places. She traveled all over the world, including Germany, England, Ireland, Scotland, Spain, Portugal, Mexico, Panama, Greece and Egypt. Her home is filled with trinkets and keepsakes she brought home from all her foreign adventures. Her favorite trip of all was a solo African Safari to Kenya she took in 1995, as evidenced by the two hand carved Maasai-Warrior figures that reside in her living room today.
Joan was a talented musician who played piano and organ. She could pick up most any instrument and master it quickly. One day she picked up the accordion and happily entertained family and friends for years with Bavarian-inspired tunes she learned touring Germany.
Joan was not someone who sat still for life; she was always in motion: swimming, skiing, boating, bowling, golfing, dancing and traveling. She always looked ahead in life, wondering what was around the next corner, what adventure there was to be had and what she could learn.
She was famous for her crafting and, especially, her skill at crocheting. Her “magic blankets” are treasured by the family for their beauty and their “magic” ability to put you to sleep the second you lay down under one. Most recently, she discovered knitting hats and happily spent her final days working her loom and giving away new hats to all.
More than anything, she loved her children and considered them her greatest achievement. Being a mother and grandmother was her life’s work. She was proud of her children and grandchildren and remained curious about their work and lives until her death.
Joan was predeceased by both her parents and her husband, Tom. She is survived by her loving children: Barbara, and her husband Peter Brand, of North Port, FL; son James and his wife Bonnalyn Wickham of Lee; daughter Patricia Wickham of Thornton, CO; son Thomas Wickham of Lee; daughter Pamela Wickham of Chatham, MA; daughter Laura and her husband Robert Lohbauer of Lee. She also leaves behind her cherished grandchildren: Allissa Wickham and her financé, Aaron Taube, of Astoria, NY; Nathan Wickham and his wife Marisa, of Roslindale, MA; Ariel Collins and her husband, Ian Eckhart, of Thornton, CO; Caroline and her husband Mitch Davis, of Thornton, CO; Christian Collins of Thornton, CO; Alexandra Wickham of Somerville, MA; Kayla Wickham of Quincy, MA; Emma Lohbauer of Lee and Matthew Lohbauer of Lee.
Joan and her family are grateful for the outstanding palliative and hospice care she received in her final months, with special thanks and much love from the family to Joan’s home health aide Audrey McIntosh, who provided exceptional care and friendship to Joan. The family is also grateful to Sarah Roberts of the Berkshire VNA; her health aide Sabrina Gazzaniga and the outstanding staff at Solaris Healthcare and Tidewell Hospice, both in Port Charlotte, FL.
Funeral services will be private for the family, followed by interment at Fairmount Cemetery in Lee, MA. To honor our beloved Joan, the family has established the Joan Wickham Memorial Flower Fund with the Town. Funds will be used to purchase the hanging baskets and flower boxes Mom so loved that adorn Main Street, Lee, each year. Donations may be sent in c/o Kelly Funeral Home, 3 Main Street, Lee, MA 01238.
If you would like to leave a message of condolence or share pictures with the family, please visit our web site at www.kellyfuneralhome.net
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Joan Wickham Memorial Flower Fund
C/O Kelly Funeral Home, 3 Main St., Lee MA 01238