Hanson Walbridge & Shea Funeral Home and Cremation Service
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Bennington, VT 05201
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Joan (Willis) Bort

1930 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Joan (Willis) Bort Obituary
Joan Willis Bort

1930 - 2016 BENNINGTON Our dear wife and mother, Joan Willis Bort went peacefully into heaven's cradle on January 15th, 2016. Born Joan Margaret Willis in Wharton, NJ on Feb 19, 1930, Joan was the first of two daughters born to George and Myrtle (Hulmes) Willis. She was a graduate of Roxbury High school in Succasunna, NJ (1947) and Trenton State Teachers College (1951). In 1953 at Lake Hopatcong United Methodist Church, she met her husband of 61 years, the Rev. David J. Bort and began a lifelong partnership in education and worship. They had two children, David and Susan. Self-taught on the piano at a very young age, Joan had a love of music that never faded. Her passion for music and teaching young children blended to make her a be loved and inspiring teacher who introduced countless children to singing, piano and other instruments for many generations in NJ and VT. She was musical director at Zion Episcopal Church Preschool in Manchester for 15 years where she taught with dear friend and colleague, Kathy Penge. She played organ for many years both at West Arlington and Sandgate United Methodist Churches, her beautiful voice leading the congregations even while at the organ. She particularly loved organizing and helping children to sing Easter and Christmas music at her churches. Piano duets with her dear friend, June Bentley, was another great joy. She was involved in numerous community choral groups over the years: Dorset Madrigal Singers, the Arlington Chorale, Bennington County Choral Society and special performances and sing-alongs such as Carmina Burana with VSO and St. James' annual Messiah. Joan enjoyed traveling as well and was fortunate to have visited the Holy Land, Kenya, Egypt, the Caribbean, much of Europe and the entire US. Visiting the beaches of the Normandy landings and meeting Bishop Desmond Tutu were some of the highlights of her travels. In addition to travel, she and her husband shared a love for 4 wonderful and long-lived cats they had over the years: Blynken, Tanya, Buffer and Dickens. Joan's dedication and partnership to her husband and his ministry cannot be overstated. She was the ultimate partner working not only at the organ but behind the scenes as well. Their shared ambition for giving of themselves for the greater good of community both near and far - was always evident. The world will truly miss Joan's generous and joyous spirit. Joan is survived by her loving husband, David; son, David; daughter, Susan; son-in-law, Chuck; sister, Jean Martin (George); nephews, Gary Martin (Bill) and Douglas Martin (Martha); niece, Pamela Schumacher (David); grandchildren, Julienne and Jaxton, and numerous cousins, grandnieces and grand-nephews. SERVICES: A memorial service will be held Friday, January 29th at 11:30a.m. at The Federated Church in East Arlington, VT. with reception to follow in Bailey Hall. Donations in Joan's memory can be made to The Sandgate Church, The Federated Church in East Arlington, or The Bennington 2nd Congregational Church c/o Hanson Walbridge & Shea Funeral Home, P.O. Box 957, Bennington, VT 05201. To send the family personal condolences, please send them to Rev. David Bort at : www.sheafuneralhomes.com The family has entrusted arrangements to the care of Hanson Walbridge & Shea Funeral Home, Bennington, VT.
Published in Bennington Banner on Jan. 22, 2016
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