Joan M. Ferreira

September 15, 1935December 16, 2020

Joan M. (Tarpey) (Burns) Ferreira, age 85, of Bristol, formerly of East Providence, passed away Wednesday, December 16, 2020 at her daughter’s residence after a brief illness. She was the wife of Herman Ferreira, with whom she shared 29 years of marriage.

Born in Pawtucket, she was the daughter of the late Joseph and Estelle (Cardin) Tarpey.

Joan graduated from the St. Joseph’s Hospital School of Nursing, Class of 1956. She served as a Registered Nurse throughout her career at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Providence and St Joseph’s Fatima Hospital in North Providence. Joan loved the challenges of nursing. She always sought out complex roles including charge nurse in the Intensive Care Unit and the Emergency Room and enjoyed a part time job as RN on the medical team for Providence Civic Center events. She finished her career in the Ambulatory Care Center at Fatima Hospital in the pre-admission testing department and recovery rooms. Through the years, many people remarked that Joan demonstrated kindness and patience with her coworkers, patients and their families. They would often say “Joan is such a good nurse”. She was well known to family and friends as the person to call when anyone had a health question. “Joan would know what to do” and she was always happy to help.

Joan was very active in her life and enjoyed the outdoors very much. She participated in the Save the Bay Swim from Newport to Jamestown in the ‘70s, inspiring three of her children to participate in future swims. She enjoyed skiing and walking the bike path in Bristol with her husband Herman and their beloved apricot-colored Standard Poodle, ‘Kappa’. Joan was a good cook, excellent seamstress, avid reader and talented pianist. Many fond memories include her relaxing with a good book on her window seat in Point Judith, or spending the day at Sand Hill Cove. She led the family in song as we gathered around her piano during holiday gatherings. She was a nature lover and loved birds, animals and her flower gardens. Joan loved decorating and created a timeless, simple, classic style in her life. Everyone loved her sweet disposition and “Life is Good” attitude. Most of all, she loved spending time with her family and in more recent years keeping tabs on all of her ‘chickens’ via phone, text and FaceTime when it became difficult to visit.

Besides her husband, Joan is survived by her children, Jo-Anne Gannon, Debra M. Burns, John T. Burns, Laurissa Burns (Vincent Flynn), Patricia A. Burger (Michael); two grandchildren, Sean J. Gannon, Patrick B. Gannon (Lea) and one great grandchild, Thomas P. Gannon. She is also survived by her brother, Joseph T. Tarpey, MD (Janet), and many nieces and nephews. She was predeceased recently by her former husband, John J. Burns of East Providence.

Our family would like to thank the Hope Health Hospice Team North B, especially Audrey and June for their support and personal connection to our Mom.

Visitation with her family will be held on Monday, December 28, 2020 from 9:00-10:00 AM in St. Francis Xavier Church, 81 North Carpenter St., East Providence. Funeral Mass to follow at 10:00 AM. Relatives and friends are invited. The Facebook livestream can be found on Joan’s page on, under services. Burial will be private. Memorial contributions in Joan’s honor may be made to the RI SPCA, 186 Amaral St, Riverside, RI 02915, or Save the Bay, 100 Save the Bay Drive, Providence, RI 02905.


  • Save the Bay


  • Visitation

    Monday, December 28, 2020

  • Mass of Christian Burial

    Monday, December 28, 2020



Joan M. Ferreira

have a memory or condolence to add?

Debbie Giordano

December 28, 2020

Dear Debbie and family,
My heart goes out to you all during this difficult time.

I have many memories of your mom and her sweetness,and caring ways and she was a terrific piano player.. I enjoyed the visits to see her recently.

My love to all,
Debbie Giordano

Charlene Lataille

December 27, 2020

Dear Deb and Family,
Please accept my heartfelt condolences on the loss of your mother.
I wish you peace and joy in the recollections of all your wonderful memories. I’m sorry I won’t be able to attend her funeral mass but wanted to let you know that I’m keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.
With love and sympathy,
Charlene Lataille


December 27, 2020

I have many memories of joan living across the street from her and Joe she was always so kind to all the kids that was in the yard getting ready to play ball in the lot next door my prays our with her and her family God Bless

Deb DoVale

December 25, 2020

Debbie and family,

One of my special memories is when your mom and Herm invited me to join the family for an Easter celebratory dinner at the Venus.

You could see the connection she had to being surrounded with family, and enjoying the laughter and storytelling that ensued. I am grateful to them both for such a fun day. Those moments reflect who she was in life. That's who I remember today.