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Farming Rural 18

Joan (Braddon) Means

October 7, 1930 ~ March 31, 2019 (age 88)

Joan Braddon Means died on March 31, 2019 at age 88, culminating a long, productive, and purposeful life. Although she was born in New York City, Joan was raised in the tiny Catskill mountain community of Wittenberg, where rural values and nature's enhancements also directed her life's journey. After graduating with honors from St. Lawrence University, she worked as an assistant editor and feature writer at Newsweek. Her articles were diverse, ranging from scientific breakthroughs and medical ethics to skiing in the Alps. Later, Joan and husband Bob transformed a hardscrabble plot of their Massachusetts homestead acreage into a horticultural masterpiece, featuring rare native species from both here and abroad, while an ultra- efficient vegetable garden produced enough surpluses to finance their travel ventures, also providing ample material for a number of literary contributions to Horticulture magazine, and a full-length book-in-progress.
Preceding Joan in death were her husband, Robert L. Means, parents Edwin and Margaret Braddon, maternal grandparents Imre and Maria Payer, and paternal grandparents John and Emily Braddon. Survivors include her ever-proud sister Nancy Brooks, step son Rob Roy Means and wife Christine, step daughter Martita Means, step-son Jonathan Means and wife Marlene, nephew Sam Brooks, niece Heidi Warren and husband Gerald, and several nephews and nieces, James Peirce, David Peirce, Nathaniel Peirce, Richard Mills, Kathy Bliven, Eleanor Linton, Charles Noble, several first cousins, and a cherished pet, Jeffrey the Cat. A graveside memorial celebration is planned for May 11 at 11 a.m. at the Forest Hills Cemetery, 95 Forest Hills Ave., Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts 02130. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Greenbelt Essex County’s Land Trust, 82 Eastern Avenue, Essex, MA 01929. Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to the Conte-Giamberardino Funeral Home, 14 Pleasant St., Georgetown, MA 01833. To share a memory of Joan with her family, please visit

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