Joanne P. Stewart died October 23, 2023.
PORTLAND- Joanne was a seeker and keeper of stories. She shared her timeless gift connecting people with each other and to places important to them. She will always be with us.
Growing up, Joanne hiked the mountains of western Maine and New Hampshire with her family. She learned love and respect for the White Mountains and their weather. With her girlfriends, she enjoyed taking a train into New York City, watching people, noticing architectural details. Wherever she was, Joanne observed how light and landscape interacted.
In 1942, on a rare dateless Saturday night at college, Joanne wrote letters to all the boys she knew. Bob Stewart, a Mainer who’d just joined the Navy, wrote back. Correspondence became courtship and they married in 1945.
Their 73-year union included a second hitch in the Navy for Bob. Joanne put her new driving skills to work as they moved with a station wagon full of kids from Maine to California and back again. In 1958, Bob’s civilian career took them to Michigan where baby number six was born.
Suburban life meant errands and carpools, but Joanne readily engaged with the brood’s friends and their parents along the way. New England vacations included hiking the Presidentials, ice cream stands and winding along Route 113. When Bob retired the couple returned to Portland, a short road trip from the mountains and their stories.
We “kids” miss her: Richard, Barbara, Eric, Leslie, Chris and Becky; the outlaws, Diana, Ken, Karen, Bob, Beth and Steve; the grands, Sam and Lindsay; married-in Russ, and this century’s Spence and Oliver. Niblings Dave and John and Chris and Laurie miss her, too. (Mom would have loved using “nibling” to score at Scrabble.)
Joanne wanted no service. You might find a friend and hit the sidewalk, a trail or the road. Use a paper map to find your way – Mom was fond of USGS quadrangles. And while you watch the light, share a story.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Chad E. Poitras Cremation and Funeral Service, Buxton, www.mainefuneral.com