Obituary for Joan Griscom
Joan Ludlow Griscom died in Lexington, Massachusetts, on March 2.
Joanie was the daughter of the late Ludlow Griscom and Edith Sloan Griscom. She was also predeceased by her brother, Andrew Griscom; her sister, Edith R. Griscom; her former husband, Werner Jurow; her former partner, Marge; and recently by her son-in-law Richard Hyde. Much alive in her memory were Nevitt Bartow, Ruth Wilson, Louise Argiroff, Bev Harrison Julia Polk, Mary Johnson, Polly Thayer Starr, Jo Griscom, Harriet Lovitt Damm, as well as many other dear friends who have gone before her.
Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Joanie was educated at the Winsor School and at Vassar College. She earned two Master’s Degrees, one in English from the University of Minnesota and one in theology from Union Theological Seminary. She received a third Master’s from New York University, where she also completed her doctorate in Psychology in 1991. Her long career included education and social work with young adults, college teaching at William Paterson University, and research in Women’s Studies. She published widely, and was far ahead of her time in her enlightened understanding of issues such as gender, sexuality, and race.
A fine pianist (from Bach, Brahms, and Chopin to Joseph Lamb and Scott Joplin), Joanie also had a deep commitment to choral music and sang regularly in professional and semi-professional groups. She was an active member of Chorus Pro Musica and The Orpheus Singers, and she had close, lifelong associations with the Longy School of Music. She continued to study voice right up until earlier this year, most recently under the instruction of Elizabeth Anker.
Joanie lived in Wanaque and Ringwood, New Jersey for many years, and later chose to move to Brookhaven at Lexington, where she developed many deeply meaningful relationships with both residents and staff. She was a popular and active member of the Brookhaven community for about 15 years. One of her triumphs in the last decade was strengthening Brookhaven’s music program, working tirelessly with others to bring top quality guest musicians to regularly perform at Brookhaven.
Joanie was a member of the Society of Friends and attended the Friends Meeting at Cambridge.
A kind, wise, and delightfully unconventional person, Joanie valued her connections with friends and family more than anything else in her life. Her extensive relationships spanned many generations and included people from all walks of life and from places all over the world.
She is survived by vast numbers of family members: her “family of origin” and her “family of choice.” These include: her cherished daughter Kate Jurow of Somerville, Massachusetts; Jennifer Brown Coles and Janet Brown Bus; her sister-in-law, Shannon Close Griscom; her beloved nieces and nephews: Andrew (Pippin) Griscom, Sarah Griscom, Kevin Daley, Peter Daley, Timothy & Alexandra Daley, Julie Daley, Mary & Blair Bettencourt, Edith (Pixie) Daley, Christopher Daley, Kiah Caldwell, David Caldwell, Bridget Bradley Gray & David Gray, Brendan Bradley, Rocio Herbert, Craig Pennypacker, Marie Daley, Phakinee Daley, and Lee Lee Maclay; her dear grand-nieces and grand-nephews: Sophie, Zoe, Bailey & Kieffer, Jaya, Alex, Jessica, Sarah, Joe, Alexander, Benjamin, Katie, Kat, Kalli, Ben, Emily, Andrew, Brendan, Cathleen, Eleanor, Tory, Richard, Sam, Molly, and Caitlin; cousins: Cecile Sloan, Thorne Griscom, Edesse & John, Margot & Dan, Julian (Jeep) & Liliana, Sam, Amelia, Lauren, and Julia. Joanie prized her loving friends in the music communities of both New York and Boston; her many loved ones past and present at Brookhaven; her Quaker spiritual community; her professional and personal contacts through countless organizations.
Joanie lived a full life that valued generosity, self-knowledge, spirituality, equal rights for all, and the pursuit of love, beauty, and truth. She was remarkably unassuming in her manner with all people. Joanie’s favorite places included: Monhegan Island, Sears Point (Chatham, Mass), Mohonk, Paris, and Virgin Gorda. A lover of the water, she swam happily wherever and whenever she had the opportunity. Joanie’s loving spirit and joie de vivre will live on in the hearts and minds of all who had the pleasure to know her. We will all continue to hold her in the light.
A celebration of Joanie’s life will take place in the auditorium at Brookhaven on Saturday, March 25 at 2 p.m. (1010 Waltham St. Lexington, MA). A later service at the Friends Meeting at Cambridge will be scheduled sometime in April. In lieu of flowers, donations in loving memory of Joanie can be made to: The Brookhaven Employee Scholarship Fund with checks made to the order of "Brookhaven at Lexington" with Employee Scholarship Fund written in the memo section.
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