SCARBOROUGH - Joan Elizabeth Kirshen Pelletier, 80, passed away unexpectedly Saturday in Portland, at Maine Medical Center, with her family at her side. She was born June 17, 1934, in Portland, the only child of Himy Benjamin and Verona (Bishop) Kirshen.
Joan grew up in Orono, Maine, attending local schools. Her dad was a dean at the university, and Joan took part in many campus activities while growing up, including working in the library starting in grade school. In 1956, Joan graduated with distinction from the University of Maine, where she majored in Education and English. She was a member of Kappa Delta Pi Honor Society. She worked for New England Telephone before marrying Skip Pelletier of Orono in 1957, and starting a family.
When her children were in school she began a career as a special education teacher, for which she received statewide recognition. She taught with her customary warm spirit and compassion, and was devoted to her students. She was pleased to maintain relationships with them as they progressed through adulthood. Joan was known for her kindness and sense of humor. She taught in several communities around the state including Bath, Lubec and Orono. While living in Lubec, Joan started and ran a charming bed and breakfast. After retiring from teaching at Orono High School, she and her husband relocated to Cape Elizabeth, and then Scarborough, to enjoy the next generation of family.
The Pelletiers traveled extensively in the US and Canada, and after retirement spent many years wintering in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Joan enjoyed socializing with friends, golfing, and playing bridge and dominoes. Joan and her husband also enjoyed refurbishing homes, and osprey-watching. Joan was an avid reader and writer, and master of crosswords. She had many interests including art, music and gardening. Joan loved to support her children and was proud of whatever they excelled at. She took great joy in her grandsons, Ryan and Matt, of whom she was very proud. She loved to watch their varsity soccer, basketball and golf seasons, was an active gym participant herself until very recently.
Joan was predeceased by her parents. She is survived by her spouse, Clarence (Skip) Nelson Pelletier of Scarborough, to whom she was married for almost 58 years; a son, Michael David Pelletier of Boston and his husband David; a daughter, Catherine Elizabeth Pelletier of South Portland; a son Bruce Nelson Pelletier of South Portland, and wife Susan, and grandchildren, Ryan Pelletier and Matthew Pelletier; sisters-in-law Margaret Peirce, Rosemary Merchant and brother-in-law Jack Pelletier and wife Judy; six nieces, four nephews; and cousins. She will be especially missed by her much-loved and spoiled Yorkie dog, Bear.
A reception celebrating Joan's life will be held at the Hobbs Hospitality Center, 230 Cottage Road, South Portland on Wednesday, June 24, 2015 from 11 AM - 1 PM.
In lieu of flowers, those desiring may make memorial contributions to the Animal Refuge League, P.O. Box 336, Westbrook, ME 04098.