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  • Writer's picturePam Gaskill

Fairfield Harbour's grande dame moves on

Updated: Dec 1, 2022

One of Fairfield Harbour’s most notable residents is Joan Smith, who has lived here since 1979 when she and her husband Stephen discovered the golf courses, boating opportunities, and beautiful scenery offered by our neighborhood. Joan, a retired school librarian, was very active when she arrived here and has continued to be so for the past 43 years. Not only does she have the distinction of being one of the Harbour’s longest residents (she is surpassed in that category by Lynton Stephenson, who moved here in 1977), but she is also the oldest, as she will be celebrating her 107th birthday on December 20.

It is with heavy hearts that our neighborhood bids her adieu as she moved into Brookdale Senior Living in early November. Joan’s long-time friend and neighbor, Diana Jones, also lives at Brookdale now so they will happily be reunited. Joan’s daughter, Sue Smith, who came from Maine to help her get moved, lamented that is was difficult because her mom wanted to keep everything. But the move has been made and we know she will bring her joy and optimism along with her.

Joan became the talk of the community when she reached her 100th birthday and was still very independent and active. She continued reading and attending book club, riding her three-wheeler bicycle, attending water aerobics classes (wearing a black ball cap with red and yellow flames on the side), volunteering as a receptionist at her church office, attending church every Sunday, and never missing a local play or concert. She has a long-time reputation as being one of the best bridge players in the Harbour! She finally gave up golf in her late 90s when she complained that she couldn’t get the distance she used to get. She continues to play bridge and to knit and sew for the Hospital Auxiliary to this day. The community honored her by naming her Grand Marshal of the Christmas parade the year she turned 100, and this November the Fairfield Harbour Yacht Club recognized her with an honorary Centenarian Appreciation award, presented by Olwen Jarvis.

Joan made waves when she bought a brand new electric car at age 102, which she happily drove until she was unable to renew her driver’s license at age 105. She also continued to go on cruises every year until she was 105. She was born in 1915, and when she went on a cruise in 2016 she originally had trouble ordering alcohol because her id showed that she was only one year old.

She gets her nails done on a regular basis and has had a standing hair appointment on Fridays at 11 am with Kim at Harbor Hair for years. Kim said, “I’m going to miss Miss Joan. I’ve been doing her hair for many years and we’ve had a lot of good conversations in here.” I am sure that there are many Harbour residents who would say the same thing.

Fortunately, her long-time friend and bridge partner, Pegge Doyle, says she will continue to see Joan regularly even though she has moved into town. Joan has made many friends along the way and has had a joyful life. She is an example of maintaining a high level of activity and independence as long as possible and an inspiration to all who know her. Fairfield Harbour wishes her well as she begins yet another new chapter in her long life.

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