Joan Botham Twaddle

August 9, 1927May 16, 2020

Miss Joan Botham Twaddle, age 92, passed away Saturday, May 16, 2020 following a brief illness. Born in 1927 in Manchester, NH, and later raised in Fall River, MA, she was the daughter of Arthur Eastman and Ruth Caroline (McQuesten) Twaddle. To state her accomplishments is both to illuminate her and to diminish her. Joan enjoyed an incredible academic mind. A facile young student, she advanced two grades in secondary school, and graduated Durfee High School (Fall River, MA) as one of the top-most students of her class. She attended Wellesley College where she earned her Bachelor of Arts, and, graduating too young to be employed, continued to earn her Master’s Degree in Education. Her time at Wellesley was one of her most cherished, and defined her interests going forward.

Loving learning herself, she became a committed educator and was particularly devoted to the education of young women at a time when this was considered vaguely marginal. Known by the moniker of “Miss T”, she was the Headmistress for several years at the Columbia School (later Columbia Allendale) and had leadership roles at several other independent schools including MacDuffie School (Springfield, MA), Barnard School (NYC), and the Cathedral School (NYC). Boxes of letters from former students attest to her ongoing engagement and care of these friends.

In her time away from school, Joan enjoyed traveling around the world and often spoke about her time in Spain. She loved traveling anywhere she could tap into her formidable skills with Latin. Despite that linguistic preference, she was one of the very first visitors to China when they opened their borders to Westerners. She brought home several China-made decorative items – an uncanny forerunner in this arena.

Throughout her life she continued to involve herself with organizations that advanced women’s issues, education and women’s education in particular. Following these themes, Joan served as Secretary of the Fall River Women’s Union, President of the Ladies’ Benevolent Organization, President of the Women’s Club of Newport County, the Club President and Chairperson of the scholarship committee for the Women’s Club of Fall River and member of The Fortnightly Club. She loved things that connected and reminded her of her parents, extended family and history of place. She was an active member of the First Congregational Church in Fall River since 1945 where her parents attended service, where one of her brothers was married and where she served as treasurer for many years. She cherished her time in vocal and hand bell choirs and felt deep friendships within the church. While not deeply religious, it grieved her to be apart.

Joan was predeceased by her parents, her two brothers, William Twadell (1998) and recently her younger brother James Twaddle, her sister-in-law Carol and Anne, and nephews Andrew and Daniel. She is proud of her family and is survived by several loving nieces and nephews; Jack, Megan, Steve, Peter, Lorri, Michael, Amanda, Susie, Susan, Connor, Lucia, Sam, Alistair, Marshall, Garion, Will, Chloe, Nicholas and Samantha. They enjoy reminiscing about Joan and her singular way of living life exactly on her terms. Joan is also survived by her beloved cat “Chester”.

The family expressly wishes to thank a long-time family friend Robin Nunes for more than thirty years of service to the Twaddle family. The family would also like to thank the Visiting Nurses Home & Hospice of Portsmouth, RI and the Tiverton, RI Fire Department for their continued and kind support of Joan.

A memorial service will be held at 11:00AM, Thursday, July 22nd, 2021 at the First Congregational Church, 282 Rock St, Fall River, MA 02720.

Memorial contributions in her honor may be made to the First Congregational Church, 282 Rock Street, Fall River, MA 02720, or to the Tiverton Fire Headquarters, 85 Main Road, Tiverton, RI 02878.


  • Memorial Service

    Thursday, July 22, 2021


Joan Botham Twaddle

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Jane Wilcox Hively

October 1, 2020

My Dad and Mom, Reverend Richard F. Wilcox and Jean Ferguson Wilcox were great friends with Joan at the Fall River First Congregational Church, when my father was Minister there in the 1970's. They have both "Passed over" now, since 2015, but I'm sure they would have wanted me to give condolences to Joan Twaddle's family and friends. I had a brief opportunity to speak with Joan when I attended at service in 2018. When she realized that I was "Dick and Jean's " daughter, she was so effervescent about remembering them. She was a sprightly and fascinating lady. It was a pleasure to meet her and I felt so welcome back in Fall River after that short chat with Joan. RIP and Flights of Angels guide you home!

Mary Seal

August 3, 2020

It was a privilege to know Joan over the last 20 or so years. We met yearly at the NAPSG meetings, where I was the court reporter. The first year I traveled to their meeting, in Charleston, I knew no one, and she immediately took me under her wing. She introduced me to people and made sure I was looked after, didn't eat alone, and got to know people. I stayed firmly under her wing until the last time we were together at a meeting. She was a wonderful lady and I will miss her.

Deborah Routt

June 5, 2020

Miss T, and the team at The Columbia School, Goodman Street, Rochester NY taught me the value of a rigorous college preparatory education. I entered middle school downtown and graduated from the first combined class at the newly-formed Allendale-Columbia School in Pittsford. My half-sister studied under Miss T in Springfield, as our father highly regarded her educational leadership. Miss T: a veritable gem, in this life, and beyond~God bless. 🙏🏻

Debbie Cook Routt A/C 1973

Keane Stever Dziduch

June 2, 2020

I have such wonderful memories of Miss T. I always admired her during my years at Columbia. She was very kind and made me feel like I really mattered to her. What a wonderful life lived!

Sheri and Thor Aakre

June 2, 2020

We are so sorry for your loss. We are Joan’s next door neighbors. I enjoyed sitting and sharing in her stories of Tiverton and her travels. Chester was a frequent guest on our outdoor couch when he would escape. She always said hello neighbor when I would call her to check to see if she needed anything. She had such amazing stories to share. So grateful to have known her. She was such a sweet and caring person.

Sabra Hickam

June 1, 2020

As a student at The Columbia School (10 years,), my love of learning is a tribute to the excellent instruction given by Miss T.
I am most grateful for her Latin classes that encouraged vocabulary development .As I read for pleasure or content, I continue to use the skills we were taught in Latin! Thank you , Miss T.

Jane (Randie) Jackson-Chiavelli

June 1, 2020

Our parents sent all five of us girls to Columbia and then Allendale Columbia, from Goodman Street to Allens Creek Road. Each of us have such fond memories and respect for Miss "T". She was an amazing leader, Head Mistress, teacher and friend. We always reminisce about our days at school and several incredible educators there. Being the last of the 5 Jackson girls, my Mom drove to Columbia and as she told me, begged Miss Twaddle to take me on. Thank you Mom and Dad! God Bless you Miss T, XoXo

Jeannie Exum

May 31, 2020

Joan Twaddle's Latin classes made such an impact on my life. I took three years of Latin from Miss Twaddle. Although I became a French major, I took another year of Latin in college. I became a French teacher, but often was pressed into teaching Latin I, and II. I loved it. I urged my grandson to take Latin. He wound up taking 6 levels of Latin, including 2 AP exams. All of this I credit to Joan Twaddle. She was a great teacher and a wonderful person.

Wendy Kheel

May 31, 2020

I was a student at the Columbia School in the late '60s when Miss T (as we called her) was Headmistress. The school had historically been more of a "finishing" school for girls but she was a big part of transitioning it to a school where academic achievement and independence for young women was respected and encouraged. I was in her Latin II class, which as you can imagine was only a few of us, but it gave us a chance to get to know her better as a dedicated teacher, not a headmistress. My condolences to the family who I hope are celebrating her long and productive life.