Obituary : M. Joanne Cleary
In Oak Bluffs on May 14, M. Joanne Cleary died at the Windemere Nursing Home after a lengthy illness. Joanne is the wife of James "Jim" Cleary, a current resident of the Taunton Nursing Home in Taunton.
Joanne was born in Taunton to her late parents George H. & Josephine (Belanger) White. She was married for 50 years and raised their five children. Joanne was a waitress at the Moonbeam and Ann's Place in Norton and also at Edmunds Restaurant in Easton. She was also known for her love of the beach and ocean, spending every summer on Martha's Vineyard since relocating there in 1972.
She was active in the schools and local community. She was a member of St. Joseph's Women's Guild of Taunton, VFW Auxiliary and often served as a chaperone for many school outings. The line was always longer at her register in the school cafeteria as the kids knew that she would loan them lunch money if needed, and she would always make sure it was paid back as well.
She was a postmistress at the West Chop Post Office for several summers and many summers worked at Shirley's Hardware.
In keeping with her love for the beach and sunshine, she and Jim became snowbirds in 1987. They traveled from the Vineyard to Bonita Springs, Fla., every winter. There they had a cute little trailer at Imperial Bonita Estates (IBE) Park. She enjoyed her retired life playing shuffleboard and bowling with friends.
Spending the past five years on Martha's Vineyard, the Island she loved, Joanne died while surrounded by her family. Besides her husband Jim, she leaves her children and their spouses: Janice and Richard Bowles, James Jr. "Jay" and Maryellen Cleary, Joseph Cleary, Jeffrey and Noreen Cleary, Jerilyn (Cleary) Dube and Ray Rochon. She also leaves grandchildren Ryland, Alex, and Taylor Bowles; Patrick, Jackie and Peter Cleary; Jaime Bodreau and Nicole Cleary; James Cleary; and Brian and Heather Dube; her siblings, Robert White of Vernon, Conn., Paula Driscoll of Norton, Janice Creeden of Naples, Fla., and the late Alfred White and Dorethea Massee. Joanne is also survived by several nieces and nephews and two great-grandchildren.
Funeral services, arranged by the O'Keefe-Wade Funeral Home located on 70 Washington Street in Taunton, were on Monday, May 19. The service was followed by a Mass of Christian Burial in St. Joseph's Church in Taunton at 11 am. Relatives and friends were invited to visiting hours on Sunday. Interment was in the family lot in St. Joseph's Cemetery in Taunton. Donations in Joanne's memory may be made to Alzheimer's Research via alzheimers-research.org. Visit the funeral home's website, okeefewade.com, to sign the online guestbook, and for directions.
A memorial Mass was held at Our Lady Star of the Sea Church in Oak Bluffs on Sat., May 17. A reception followed at the VFW Hall.