"Once in his life, every man is entitled to fall in love with a gorgeous redhead." - Lucille Ball
A beautiful redhead with green eyes and an Irish smile. That Joanie was one in a million and leaves us all better for knowing her and being a part of her legacy. One could not have had a better mother, a more devoted wife and a lifelong friend. She was a remarkable lady with an incredible story that we will all share for generations to come.
There was nobody that was better at playing a great game of Scrabble than Joanie. She could rack up 400 points by the end of every game without breaking a sweat. And never mind how great she was at crossword puzzles. Simply astounding how she seemed to effortlessly finish a crossword puzzle in record time, without ever getting an answer wrong.
Born in Bridgeport, CT on January 4, 1936, she was lovingly adopted into a wonderful family at four days old and was the third child of William Walkley and Margaret Alicia "Lee" Walkley. Her three brothers, Bill Jr., Don and James were the lights of her life and she adored them with every inch of her being. Her early years in the 1950's were something directly out of the movie "Grease", with incredible friendships that lasted right up until the day she left us. Her closest girlfriends, Lois and Priscilla, chatting regularly on the phone would happily reminisce about their years as part of the "Jinx" girls club at Stratford High School.
After graduating from Stratford High School in 1954, she married her high school sweetheart, Clement Cole on November 7, 1959. Clem and Joan spent their first years as a married couple together in the Midwest, living in Chicago and Minneapolis before returning to New England and starting a family in Framingham, MA. They moved to Littleton, MA in 1975 and lived there for nearly 45 years, raising their children and enjoying time with her beloved grandchildren. Mimi loved her grandkids and had photos of them plastered over every square inch of her refrigerator!
After Clemmie passed in 2018, things weren't quite the same as her partner in crime was now gone and she missed him terribly. Sixty years of marriage will do that. But she persisted. Mimi enjoyed spending every day with her young grandkids, playing board games, helping with homework, helping in the kitchen, watching Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune and enjoying a good beer with her son-in-law. Going out to eat for an ice cream dinner or Taco Bell was another favorite thing to do. But most of all, her favorite past time was, by far, playing Scrabble every evening with Clemmie while they enjoyed dessert and watched Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy. They played a Scrabble game together every night for nearly 20 years and kept score: Joanie (3,657) vs. Clemmie (3,656). That must be why she was so incredibly good at crossword puzzles and was a champion speller. She missed that after he was gone and that left a hollow gap in her life that could never be filled again.
Joanie is survived by her beloved older brother Donald, of Shelton, CT; her beloved younger brother, James and his wife Colleen of Beacon Falls, CT; son, Craig and his wife Colleen of Westminster, MA and grand daughters: Madison, Mackenzie and Macy; daughter, Jill (Cole) Adamy and her husband Dion of Harvard, MA, and grandchildren: Charlotte, Grace Clementine and Joseph. She is also survived by her youngest brother who she loved meeting about 2 years ago, Brian and wife Joanie of Pleasantville, NY as well as many nieces, nephews and dear friends.
Instead of flowers or donations, go out and enjoy an ice cream for dinner with your family. Enjoy all the moments you have together and share a toast to those who have left us already, not in sadness, but in joy-filled memories. Always look at the glass as "half-full" instead of "half-empty" for there's always something to be thankful for.