She was born in Belfast, Maine, to Inza and Harold “Doc” Burgess in 1931.
The family moved to South Hiram, Maine, where Joan spent her early years and proudly claimed her first job at a summer camp in the town.
She was a member of Fryeburg Academy’s Class of 1949 where she met and fell in love with her husband, Roger “Bud” Brown, who had just returned from the Navy. After a brief time in Massachusetts, Roger’s job with United Airlines took them to live in Honolulu.While there, Joan took a job sewing costumes for the Don Ho Show. She always cherished the time they spent in Hawaii and loved to share what she learned about Polynesian culture with her family back in New England. After several years in Honolulu, they returned to where their heart was, the Mount Washington Valley where she and Roger started a painting contracting business. Joan took a great interest in local youth and was always helping them find a job to do or just offering friendship and counsel.
Joan held the position of town clerk in Conway for over 10 years. She was very active in the Order of the Eastern Star and she traveled extensively with Roger performing their duties with the Eastern Star and the Masonic Lodge. After retirement, Joan and Roger moved back to her home in South Hiram, Maine. After selling their home in South Hiram they enjoyed snowbird status, splitting their time between Zephyrhills, Fla., and Prince Edward Island and later trading summers in PEI for summers in Hiram on the Saco River.
Joan felt blessed to have been able to share 61 years with her husband and best friend Bud. They both loved nature and maintained lovely gardens wherever they found themselves. She was a voracious reader, always reading several books at the same time. She spent incalculable hours researching and recording genealogy.
She and Roger strove to promote oral history and storytelling as a way to connect the current generation to the past. They were also very active in the Hiram Historical Society. After Roger’s death in 2010 Joan settled in Florida and moved from Zephyrhills to Sarasota to be near her nephew.
At the nursing facility, she was loved and known for never complaining about her situation but accepting and enjoying every day she was gifted. Joan shared her wisdom and her love of life with her friends and family which includes many nephews and nieces.
She was predeceased by her parents; by her twin children, Bonnie-Jo and Steven Leigh and by her husband, Roger. A memorial service is planned for later this summer and she will be interred with her husband and children at the No. 4 cemetery in Lovell, Maine.
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