Obituary : Joanne C. Horgan
Joanne Horgan died on September 20 at Massachusetts General Hospital following a short illness. She was 70 years old.
Born Joanne Claire Power, she was raised and educated in Boston, first attending the Katherine Gibbs School, and finally earning her BA degree from Lesley University.
She worked for several years in New York City for the World Sea Lines. She was briefly married to Neal Lorne Horgan and had her daughter, Catherine. The two lived in Greenwich Village during the wondrous years of the 1960s. A student of art and photography, she returned with her daughter to Boston and began her work in architectural firms. She became involved in design work as well as the administrative and financial aspects, eventually joining some architects who created a new firm, E. Verner Johnson and Associates, that focused on museum design and preservation throughout the world. Among the more than 70 design projects she worked on over her 35 years there were the Boston Museum of Science, The Louvre in Paris, and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.
Joanne moved to Martha's Vineyard in 1993. She spent 10 years designing the remodeling of her 200-plus-year-old Vineyard Haven home. She also began experimenting with the regeneration of the gardens that flowed to the sea, work that would delight her for the next 15 years. As in her home, Joanne always brought out strong colors and contrast.
Believing deeply in community, Joanne chose to volunteer in the Vineyard community, working two days a week at the Martha's Vineyard Community Services (MVCS) Thrift Shop. She loved to work on the annual auction window display and on the Chicken Alley Art Show. Joanne also worked on numerous Family Planning Art Shows. Her love of film led her to serve on the board of the Martha's Vineyard Film Society. She belonged to the Martha's Vineyard Garden Club, developing an event combining fine art and flower arrangements. In 2005, the Vineyard Haven library's Board of Trustees asked her to reformat library space into being more user friendly and inviting. She served on the Vineyard Cultural Council, taking a term as its chairperson. She relished encouraging Vineyard artists to collaborate and reach out to the community.
Joanne recently found new artistic expression in handmade books. Among other places, she studied at Sea Stone Papers in West Tisbury, learning to love making paper out of natural substances. She mastered combining her drawing and journaling gifts in creating handmade books.
Joanne had a passion for reading and was a member of three Island book groups. Having spent the summer of 2007 reading all of Barbara Kingsolver's books, Joanne became a determined organic food lover. She undertook the renovation of two garden plots at the FARM Institute community garden in Katama just prior to her illness.
Joanne developed and nurtured a variety of close friendships both in Boston and on the Vineyard. She loved in-depth conversations about politics, art, philosophy, relationships, and family, while sharing meals and travels both in the United States and abroad, enjoying trips to Mexico, Italy, and France in recent years.
Joanne is sorely missed by her daughter, Catherine Horgan Bond, her grandchildren, Tyler and Kate Bond, sister Katherine Gendreau, twin brother John (Jack) F. Power, her six nieces and nephews, and her colleagues and her many friends. A private gathering was held in Boston on November 7. In March on the Vineyard, at a date to be announced, there will be a celebration of her life. Donations may be made to MVCS in her honor, at 111 Edgartown Rd., Vineyard Haven, MA 02568.