Joan Shanley

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  • "Joan was a dear friend for over 30 years. I have great..."
    - Michael Moran
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NORTHAMPTON – Joan Shanley, 80, a public school social worker and educator for five decades, passed away Saturday, April 12, 2014, at Calvin Coolidge Nursing and Rehabilitation Center for Northampton.

Known for her enormous heart and generous spirit, Joan was a New Yorker to her core. She dedicated her entire life to friends and family, and to the pursuit of justice and peace.

In 1952, Joan joined the Sisters of St. Joseph of Brentwood, N.Y. She remained in the order for 27 years. Over time, Joan was active in the Catholic Worker movement, and was tireless in her protest of war, racial profiling, unbridled gentrification, nuclear weapons, unfair labor laws, and more.

After receiving her master of social work degree from Fordham University, Bronx, N.Y., Joan went to work in Inwood, N.Y., as a public school social worker. In 2003, Joan received a guidance counselor recognition award from the New York City Department of Education for her unparalleled work with students and their families.

When she wasn't with her students, Joan was active as a volunteer in the New York City homeless shelter system and with Providence House, a New York-based after incarceration support network for formerly incarcerated women and their children.

Joan was a romantic and loved classic literature and music, the poetry of Emily Dickinson, Celtic dance, and theater. She was an avid traveler, visiting Latin America and Europe multiple times.

Joan is predeceased by her brother John Shanley and long-timer partner Carlo Rubino.

Joan leaves her twin sister and brother-in-law Jeanne and Robert Comerford of Northampton; her brother and sister-in-law James and Janet Shanely of Castine, Maine; a host of nieces and nephews and their spouses and partners; great-nieces and nephews; and many, many friends near and far.

A service celebrating Joan's life will be held at today, Tuesday, April 15, at 10 a.m. at Annunciation Chapel, 85 Beacon St., Florence.

In lieu of flowers, please contribute to Joan's most treasured cause, Providence House:

To sign a Guest Book, express condolences, share memories and read other obituaries, go to
Funeral Home
Ahearn Funeral Home
783 Bridge Road
Northampton, MA 01060
(413) 587-0044
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Published in Daily Hampshire Gazette on Apr. 15, 2014