Joan (Alling) Wuerth, formerly of Oak Bluffs and Edgartown, died peacefully in her sleep on Sunday, August 11, 2013. She was 89.
She was born in Montclair, N.J., on March 23, 1924, to Charles and Esther Alling. She was well known for her kind and gracious manner, her wonderful sense of humor, and her unwavering love for her husband and children.
Joan graduated in 1946 from Connecticut College with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and went on to work for the Bird’s Eye food company for a short time. She subsequently married John (Jack) Wuerth on June 11, 1948, in Montclair, N.J.
Joan and Jack moved to California following their marriage, where they eventually raised their four daughters. They later retired to Oak Bluffs in 1986 and then to Edgartown, where they had enjoyed the Wuerth family summer home on Katama Bay throughout their marriage. In 2008 they returned to California.
Joan was very devoted to her family, but she also found time over the years to help with Girl Scouts, to host international students, to participate in local politics, various community organizations, and church-related activities. On the Vineyard, she was active in the Edgartown Federated Church, president of the Garden Club and on the board of the Wakeman Center.
Early in their marriage, Joan led a Brownie Scout Troop of Hispanic girls in Pico, California. She overcame the language barrier with many of the girls with her love, and she instituted a group requirement that no girl could participate without their parent’s participation. One mother was eager to have her daughters participate, but unable to attend meetings due to her work schedule. A creative participation plan was formed, and this mother became the group phone chairman.
Joan showed her commitment to conservation of open spaces as she organized the committee to preserve the Southern Woodlands area. She and Jack hosted numerous meetings in their home and participated in many Oak Bluffs town meetings and Martha’s Vineyard Commission meetings in this effort.
Joan is survived by her loving husband of 65 years, John M. Wuerth, and their four daughters, Vicky Sigworth and her husband, Fred, of Hamden, Conn., Shelley Rice and her husband, Craig, of San José, Costa Rica, Kelsey Ambrose and her husband, Tom, of Rumney, N.H., and Wendy Scheck and her husband, Andy, of Moraga, Calif. In addition, she is survived by her brother, Charles Alling Jr. and his wife, Gail, her sister Elizabeth Atwood, 10 grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews.
In addition to her parents, Joan was predeceased by her sister, Prudence Alling.
There will be no calling or viewing hours. Cremation has been handled by the Neptune Society of Northern California, 1176 Boulevard Way, Walnut Creek, CA 94595; 925-944-5100.
A memorial service was held on Saturday, August 31, at the Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church, 49 Knox Drive, Lafayette, California. Her ashes will eventually be interred in the Memorial Garden at the Edgartown Federated Church.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Memorial Garden Fund at the Edgartown Federated Church; 45 South Summer Street; P.O. Box 249; Edgartown, MA 02539; 508-627-4421.