Joanne (Cunningham) Demers, 76, of Enfield, loving wife of Bill Demers for 52 years, entered peacefully into eternal rest on Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013, with her family by her side.
Born in Hartford on Feb. 27, 1936, she was the daughter of the late John and Josephine (Shelansky) Cunningham. As a lifelong resident of Enfield, she was a graduate of Enfield High School, Class of 1953, and St. Francis Nursing School, Class of 1956. Joanne was a people person who had the gift of gab. She welcomed everyone into her home as if they were family. For over 30 years, she cared for the children of Enfield as their school nurse and was known as the "neighborhood nurse" on Field Road where parents could bring their children to be checked out if they weren't feeling well. Joanne welcomed all "patients" with open arms. But she loved caring for her grandchildren the most. They will always remember her as a fun Nana who loved to give whimsical gifts, arrange scavenger hunts, and share desserts with them. She loved to attend their sporting events and was given the title "Most Valuable Fan" season after season. She had a knack for crafts and flower arranging and ran a small business with her best friend and sister, Mary. Holidays were always special at Joanne's house, especially Christmas, when the house would be decorated with Annalee dolls, amaryllis plants, gifts wrapped with beautiful bows and overflowing stockings. She loved the beach, Sunday dinners, amethysts, giraffes, chocolate, shopping, reading, and traveling. She considered Bermuda to be her second home and treasured the time she and Bill spent at their timeshare in the Town of St. George. She shed tears of joy upon arrival on the island and tears of sadness upon leaving. Joanne had many wonderful friends, including her school nurses group and book club friends, and particularly enjoyed the time spent with her dear friends Chuck and Elaine, Bill and Mary, Bob and Joan, and Bob and Jesse.
She will be missed by her husband, Bill; her daughter, Terri and son-in-law, Pat, and their children, Reilly and Meghan, of Lakewood, Ohio; son, Will, and daughter-in-law, Maura, and their children, Kevin and Tim of Glastonbury; brother-in-law, Wally Faber of Westerly, R.I.; and several nieces and nephews. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her brother, John Cunningham, and his wife, Delores; and her sister, Mary Faber.
If you had the good fortune of knowing Joanne, you know that she had a kind heart and joyful spirit. We can all learn a lesson from how she led her life. Over the years, as her heart weakened, she did not look to blame and she did not complain, instead she thanked the Lord for each day she was given.
The family owes a debt of gratitude to Dr. Kathleen Kennedy who treated Joanne like family and whose care gave her many more years to enjoy with family and friends. They would also like to extend heartfelt thanks to the wonderful caregivers who made her final days comfortable, especially Cindy, Patricia, Nancy, Karen, and Jackie.
A Mass of Christian Burial in celebration of Joanne's life will be held at St. Bernard Church, 426 Hazard Ave., Enfield, at 11 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 4, 2013. Burial will be private. Her family will receive relatives and friends at Leete-Stevens Enfield Chapels, 61 South Road, Enfield, on Sunday, Feb. 3, from 1 to 4 p.m.
Memorial donations in Joanne's honor may be made to the Felician Sisters, 1315 Enfield St., Enfield, CT 06082; or to St. Bernard Church, 426 Hazard Ave., Enfield, CT 06082.
To leave an online message of sympathy or for directions please visitwww.leetestevens.com