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Joan Bilich


1933 - 2019
Joan Bilich Obituary
EXETER - Joan Bilich, 85, died in Chester, New Hampshire, with family at her bedside, on Wednesday, November 20, 2019, from complications of Parkinson 's disease. She was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1933 to Florence (McGinnis) and Louis Bilich, and told stories of growing up in the Depression, an experience that made her appreciate the small joys in life.

Material possessions were always secondary to the quality of a sunrise, or to that first deep breath you take when you walk outside on a cold fall morning, the smell of coffee, a good book.

She had six babies with her first husband, Andy Buchanan, by the time she was 31, raising them on a shoestring in Burlington, Vermont and then New Boston, New Hampshire, as a working single parent after a divorce - unusual back in the 60's. Joan was quietly courageous. She had a brief second marriage in the 1970's to Walter Elmore.

In the 1980's she became interested in a form of Buddhist meditation, Vipassana, a secular mode of achieving emotional balance. This practice deeply guided the rest of her life, expanding her connections to others in ways that brought all closer to her. She lived her life with honesty and integrity, and was deftly humorous.

Joan was predeceased by her son, Bruce Buchanan, who died tragically of suicide at age 20. Also by two of her siblings: Gene Bilich and Ruth Owens.

She leaves her surviving siblings, Lucy Zivkovich of Cleveland, Ohio; Lynne Glaeske and her husband, René Knetsch of Denver, Colorado; her children: Glenn Buchanan and his wife, Joanne, of Austinburg, Ohio; Craig Buchanan and his wife, Leslie, of Manchester, New Hampshire; Scott Buchanan and his wife, Patty Keck, of Portsmouth, New Hampshire; Betsy Buchanan and her husband, Gene Blanchard, of Chester, New Hampshire; and Peter Buchanan and his wife, Bouchra Bouziane, of El Jadida, Morocco; grandchildren: Ina Buchanan, Jason Zivkovich, Luke Zivkovich, Emily Buchanan, Mary Buchanan, Sam Steele, Leana Smith, Maria Buchanan, Ziyen Buchanan; and her great-grandchild: June Holmes.

Joan's final gift was that of her body, which she matter-of-factly donated to the Department of Anatomy at Dartmouth Medical School, her daughter's alma mater.

SERVICES: Services will be private. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Vipassana Meditation Center, 386 Colrain Shelburne Rd., Shelburne Falls, MA 01370, to help spread the message of metta (loving kindness) throughout the world.
Published in Seacoastonline.com from Nov. 21 to Nov. 24, 2019
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