BURLINGTON -- Joan Carroll Beauchemin, 63, passed away peacefully, after a long illness, on Tuesday, April 8, 2014, in Fletcher Allen Health Care, with friends and family at her side.
Joan, known as "Jo" to many, lived her life fully, with strong will and courageous determination. She leaves behind a legacy of memories that include her passion for life, love and respect of all things bright and beautiful, ardor for a good debate, and her ability to make people laugh with her quick wit and brilliant humor. She made her way through life embracing the uniqueness in all things, in all people. Never once did she allow her failing health to alter her joy of life, vivacious tenacity, and keen sense of humor.
Jo lived in Groton, Conn., throughout her childhood and young adult years. Her zest for life and a touch of wanderlust eventually took her across the country for adventures in California, Florida, New York City and Vermont. She ultimately became a longtime resident and true friend of the City of Burlington. It was there she settled and made a home with the love of her life, Dale Beauchemin, who sadly predeceased her unexpectedly last September. Their lives were enriched by the unconditional love of their beloved husky, Max.
Jo's life was richly lived, and she put her special touch on all she did. Her many talents included writing and drawing. One of her proudest life achievements was graduating with honors from Trinity College, where she demonstrated her commitment to lifelong learning, enriching her love of writing, history and politics.
Along her journey, she amassed an amazing troupe of lifelong friends who include, Ira Greenberg, her BFF; Ann Prairie, Pauline Kanar, and Melinda Courtney ("The Plattsburgh Three"); Megan Humphrey and husband, Terry; Richard Hunt, Carmen Pont, and Megan Moerdyk. She also enjoyed the opportunity to develop a special friendship with her brother, John, who relocated to the Burlington area a few years ago.
Joan will be forever remembered by her Burlington "family" for her tireless efforts on such projects as improvements to Lakeside and the South End, and the neighborhood initiative in the mid-1980's to kill the Southern Connector proposal. She also campaigned for City Alderman, and helped conceptualize the Pine Street Renaissance and the Burlington Land Trust (now Champlain Housing Trust). In January 2012, Jo was the first recipient of the Joan Beauchemin Award for Resident Civic Engagement and was honored for her contributions as an inspirational leader and activist for decades in the City. She and Dale bought the second-ever Champlain Housing Trust home in 1985.
Joan was born in North Kingstown, R.I., to Florine (Boslet) and Richard Carroll, who predeceased her. She is survived by her four siblings, whom she deeply loved and embraced for their own special qualities (and they, hers), David and wife, Laurette, of Warner, N.H., John of South Burlington, Andrew and wife, Joan (Bellenoit), of North Stonington, Conn., and Jennifer and her true companion, William Miller, of Gales Ferry. She was predeceased by her infant sister, Dana Ann, in July 1960. She is also survived by her cherished nephews and nieces, Sarah, Matthew, Sean, Riana, and Rebecca; and in addition to her immediate family, she leaves behind her brother-in law, Robert "Bob" Beauchemin and wife, Sherry, of Florida; and nephews, Joseph F. Beauchemin of Winooski, and James Dale Beauchemin, and family.
Joan was expressively grateful for the care and compassion showed to her by her doctors and caregivers throughout the years. Special thanks from the family go to Dr. Rachel Inker (Community Health), Dr. Laurie LeClair (Fletcher Allen), and Nurse Melanie (VNA Palliative Care), Lisa Myers of Homeshare VT, and caregiver, Elaine Simard, and the numerous neighborhood Earth angels who took such watchful care of her.
A Celebration of Life will be held on Sunday, May 18, 2014, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the Contois Auditorium, Burlington City Hall, 149 Church Street. Please come and share your special memories of Jo. Online condolences may be made at www.gregorycremation.com.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to your favorite charity or a random act of kindness to a stranger in her honor.