Joan M. Santamassino
Joan M. Santamassino
Joan M. Santamassino, age 58, passed away at Vermont Respite House in Williston, Vt., on March 14, 2014.
She was born in Harrison, NJ, on Nov. 14, 1955, the eldest of six children of Philip and Jean (Hutchins) Santamassino.
Joan graduated from Fairleigh Dickinson University with a degree in Education, and taught special needs children in the Kearny, NJ, school system from 1978-1982. In 1985, Joan graduated from Seton Hall Law School with a Juris Doctor degree, and practiced law in New Jersey from 1985-1999.
In 2000, Joan moved to the Hutchins family home on Jackson Avenue in Rutland, where she cared for her mother until her death from Parkinson’s in 2011. In 2012-2013, Joan worked as an independent consultant for the Vermont Defender General’s Office in the Family Support Project, providing education, support and advocacy to parents in need in order to successfully reunite them with their children. Throughout her life, Joan was a teacher and mentor, and served as caretaker, giver, and advocate for the unfortunate.
Joan loved nature and animals. Her yard was a haven for wildlife and over the years she spent many hours in the quietude of Chittenden Dam with her beloved golden retrievers, Shannon, Brandon, Rogan and Murphy. There was no one more devoted to their companion animals than Joan, and she always knew they would await her at the golden bridge.
Joan was exceptionally gifted with language. She loved all types of reading and enjoyed British mystery and drama. Her writing skills were exceptional, and in her many capacities as a teacher, lawyer, advocate and volunteer, she wrote for chief justices, crafted business proposals, created lesson plans and tutored special needs children, created and moderated blogs for Parkinson’s caretakers, various knitting groups, and a grassroots action forum for underserved citizens.
In addition, Joan was incredibly creative, mirroring the handwork of her Vermont grandmother. She was adept at photography, decorating, quilting, sewing, antique doll making, beading, jewelry and knitting.
Joan was predeceased by her parents, Philip and Jean (Hutchins) Santamassino. Surviving are 3 brothers, Thomas Santamassino of Rutland, Frank Santamassino of N.J., and Philip Santamassino; 2 sisters, Theresa Cardaci of N.J., and Lucy Santamassino of Texas; 3 beloved nieces, Katey, Jennifer and Rachel.
Honoring Joan’s request, there will not be a public memorial service. It was her desire that any donations made on her behalf be given to the Vermont Respite House Inc., 99 Allen Brook Lane, Williston, VT 05495.
Arrangements are under the direction of Clifford Funeral Home.