Martha's Story

SEARSPORT - Martha Joan Pratt, 89, died April 14, 2015, at her home after a brief illness. She was born on June 1, 1925, in Candia, New Hampshire, the only child of Martha G. (Wellbrock) and Walter I. Chapman.

She attended Candia schools. The family then moved to Manchester, NH, where she graduated from St. Joseph Girl's High School. During her high school years, she volunteered teaching arts and crafts at the Manchester Girl's Club and the Catholic Youth Center. Joan attended Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts for two years.

On October 11, 1947, she married James A. Pratt at St. Joseph's Chapel in Manchester, NH. They moved to Pittsfield, Massachusetts where her husband was employed by General Electric Company. They later moved to Winterport, Maine, and then to Rockport, Maine. Joan was a Girl Scout leader and a member of the American Legion Auxiliary in both Winterport and Rockport. She was a communicant of Our Lady of Good Hope Catholic Church in Camden. In 1975, Joan and Jim relocated to Searsport. Over the years they spent many happy summers enjoying their camp at Seal Cove.

A genealogical researcher, she published a book, The Ancestors and Descendants of Paul Pratt of New Vineyard, Maine, in 1987.

Joan was member of the Penobscot Marine Museum, the Maine Genealogical Society, a life member of the Military Order of the Purple Heart Auxiliary and an associate member the Anzio Beachhead Veteran's of WWII Auxiliary.

She also belonged to the Maine Old Cemetery Association, and the Tremont and Searsport Historical Societies. Joan was a 33-year member of the Penobscot Expedition Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and was Chapter Genealogist, and later, Chapter Registrar for 20 years. She was very proud of the fact that she could prove descent from 15 ancestors, on her father's side, who served in the Revolutionary War. Joan was also a member of the Daughters of Union Veteran's of the Civil War, in which she held several state offices.

Like her mother, Joan was a skillful seamstress and made clothing for her 3 daughters until they were in their teens. It was a family joke to receive on Christmas or birthdays, a box with cloth, thread and pattern for the dress she didn't have time to finish - because she was baking cookies.

Joan was predeceased by James, her husband of 55 years, in 2002. She leaves three daughters, Elizabeth Sheppard and husband, Jack Sr., of Lewisville, Texas, Susan Grinnell and husband, David, of Scarborough, Maine, and, Katherine Pratt and husband, Kurt Lockhart, of Tremont, Maine; one son, William J. Pratt and wife, Talma (McGinley) Pratt, of Stockton Springs, Maine. She is also survived by two granddaughters, Olivia (Grinnell) Eastman and Chad, of South Portland, Maine, and Emily (Grinnell) Doerfler and husband, Jeremy, of Portland, Maine; three great-granddaughters, Hayley, Zoe and Ashley Eastman; four step granddaughters, Rachel (Curtis) Leavitt and husband, Graham, Renae (Curtis) Traves and husband, Richard, Laura Dunham and fiancée, Chris Lougheed, and Alana (Dunham) Hutchins and husband, Evan; one step grandson, Jack Sheppard, Jr.; many nieces and nephews, and several cousins, including Gertrude Wellbrock of Quincy, Massachusetts, also survive her.

The family would like to thank Deborah Peabody, MD, for her many years of warm and attentive care of their mother. Also, thanks to the Searsport EMS crew and the staff of the 2nd floor at Waldo County General Hospital for the wonderful care during her hospitalization. The family also thanks her long-term care giver, Cheryl Pike, for the companionship she provided Joan over the past several years. Joan also leaves her beloved feline companion, Katie.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. on Monday April 20, 2015 at St. Francis of Assai Catholic Church Belfast with Fr. Dominic as Celebrant. A reception will be held immediately following the Mass in the Parish Hall of St. Francis Catholic Church, all are invited to attend.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Joan's name may be mad e to the Penobscot Marine Museum, P.O. Box 498, Searsport, Maine 04974, or the Town Line Animal Shelter, 46 Baker Street, Belfast, Maine 04915.

Arrangements are under the direction of Young Funeral Home, 31 W. Main Street, Searsport, ME 04974

Published in Bangor Daily News
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