SCARBOROUGH — Joan Elizabeth Kirshen Pelletier, 80, died unexpectedly June 13 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.
Pelletier grew up in Orono, where her father was a dean at the University of Maine. She attended local schools, and also took part in many UMaine activities and worked at the campus library. In 1956, she graduated with distinction from the university, where she majored in education and English and was a member of Kappa Delta Pi honor society.
In 1957, she married Skip Pelletier in Orono, and the couple began starting a family. Although Joan had worked briefly for New England Telephone & Telegraph Co., she soon began a career as a special education teacher.
Pelletier worked at schools in Bath, Lubec and Orono, and received statewide recognition for her teaching. She also started and ran a bed-and-breakfast while living in Lubec. After retirement, she and her husband moved to Cape Elizabeth.
The Pelletiers traveled extensively throughout the United States and Canada, and enjoyed wintering in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. She also enjoyed socializing with friends, golf, music, art, gardening, playing bridge and dominoes, and osprey-watching with her husband. Pelletier was also an avid reader and writer, and a master of crossword puzzles. In addition, she took great joy in watching her grandsons play sports.
Pelletier was predeceased by her parents.
She is survived by her spouse of almost 58 years, Clarence “Skip” Nelson Pelletier, of Scarborough; 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, his wife, Susan, and their children, Ryan Pelletier and Matthew Pelletier; sisters-in-law, Margaret Peirce and Rosemary Merchant; a brother-in-law, Jack Pelletier, and his wife, Judy; six nieces, four nephews, many cousins and her Yorkie dog, Bear.
A reception celebrating Pelletier’s life will be held at Hobbs Hospitality Center, 230 Cottage Road, South Portland, on Wednesday, June 24, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, those who wish may make memorial contributions to the Animal Refuge League, P.O. Box 336, Westbrook, ME 04098.