Joan M. Abbott

February 21, 1917January 19, 2013

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.


  • Mass Saturday, February 9, 2013

Joan M. Abbott

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Timothy McCluskey

February 10, 2013

I just came across this article this afternoon. I remember Jeremy's mother as a 'spitfire' - great wit and strong. The Abbott's were anchors of Blessed Sacrament Church. May she rest in peace!


February 10, 2013

Dear Paul,

"live as much as you's a mistake not to".....was that Henry James or Joan Abbott; I forget, both so brilliant and kind.
Thank you for stopping in to see Matthew. i wish I had gotten the news earlier and was able to attend your mom's service and celebration of her life. Thinking of you.

January 31, 2013

Dear Paul,
Nicole and I are thinking of you and want you to know you have our love and support. Your mother lived a long life across difficult decades in the 20th century, she saw many great and terrible events but she bore you into this world and for that I am grateful. May you travel your own road now into the future with strength and the certainty that life is a gift, however fleeting ... and know that each of us may manifest love to friends, family and strangers alike. Wishing you and your family compassion and peace.
~ Patrick Warner

Catherine Simmons-Gill

January 27, 2013

Dear Abbott children and grandchildren: We were very sorry to learn that "Mrs. Abbott" had died but grateful to hear that she had such a long life. I remember so many things about her and your family, that they introduced my parents, working for your dad, wonderful stories from my dad about the Abbott clan. Please accept our sincere condolences, prayers and thoughts on your loss. Catherine ("Cathy") Simmons

Amy Graham

January 26, 2013

Dear Abbotts. We will miss your mom. She was our Mom's best friend on Crosman Terrace. I know Susette Ryan Graham and Joan Mary Abbott are having coffee and cigarettes together in heaven. Love to all of you. The Grahams, Amy especially!

Joyce Clark

January 26, 2013

Dear Abbott family,
I remember you all so well , and certainly do remember your Mother.. She was a great lady, and she knew how to keep her group and their friends in line.. I have thought of you all over the years with wonderful memories...
My sister Julie and your sister Joan were great friends back when you all lived at 35 Rockingham St. I remember rolling down the front lawn with Joan , Newman, "germy" , "cadeen" and William.... who I believe, was called "Georgie" back then.... and I remember that your Mom's patience through all the kids' and friends' antics was amazing...
I was glad to have a little window in the Abbott saga.. and to have known your Mom.. a lady worth remembering.
My very best to you all, and my thoughts will continue to be with you..
Joyce Furlong Clark

The Staff of Doane Beal & Ames Funeral Home

January 22, 2013

We wish to extend our deepest sympathies at this difficult time.