Joan Coles (Wall) Potter, 83 years young, died at Massachusetts General Hospital on June 18, 2018, while surrounded by her family. Like her husband, John Stauffer Potter Jr., who predeceased her in 2014, her life read like a best-selling novel, filled with varied chapters of her lifelong pursuits and endeavors.
She was born to Howard P. Wall and Elizabeth Coles, who brought their newborn daughter to the Vineyard when she was but 4 weeks old. She summered every year in East Chop, where the family had deep ties, and while growing up she pursued her interests in swimming, tennis, family, and youthful shenanigans. The other parts of the year were spent in Connecticut and New York, where she eventually met her husband John. After they wed, she led a globetrotting lifestyle, living in Hong Kong and Singapore for many years while still summering in her beloved East Chop. She discovered many new interests and pursuits during these times, which included interior design, running her antique and custom jewelry business, All Things Oriental, learning Cantonese, breeding cocker spaniels, raising her family, and supporting the business efforts of her husband.
She retired to the Vineyard in 1997 with her husband to enjoy East Chop throughout the year, and to be close to her three sons, who all ended up residing on-Island. She was a well-known East Chop icon who served on many East Chop and Island nonprofit boards, loved mahjong, fashion, antiquing, swimming every morning, spending time with her sons and their families, and so much more. Early in 2015 she moved to Tashmoo Woods in Vineyard Haven, where she started a whole new chapter of life after the death of her beloved “Boulie” (husband John).
“Wherever a beautiful soul has been, there is a trail of beautiful memories,” and Joan leaves behind many memories for her surviving family, who include her three sons and their spouses John S. Potter III and Susan Silverstein Potter, William N.H. Potter and Kerry Quinlan Potter, and Robert L.C. Potter and Deborah Holtzer Potter; her five grandchildren, Charlotte, Samantha, Chesca, Max, and Zak; her wonderful caregiver and friend Annemarie Frammartino, stepbrother Sterling Wall, and stepsister Sara Wall Locko, as well as her faithful furry companion Bella. She was predeceased by her stepbrother Howard Wall, who was a longtime Island resident as well. She also leaves an indelible mark on her many, many, many friends (a list that could fill several books alone) from all over the Vineyard and the world, to whom the family extends their gratitude for all of their support.
A celebration of her storied life will be held in the near future. Donations in her memory may be made to the Vineyard House, P.O. Box 4599, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568, or to a charity of your choice.