LITTLE DEER ISLE — Joan Dorothy Grogan Weber, 90, died Feb. 23, 2016, after a rich life. She was born on Dec. 5, 1925, in Flaxton, N.D., in a raging blizzard. She was delivered at home by her father, Dr. John S. Grogan; her mother was Magna Melby Grogan. The family moved to Wadena, Minn., where she spent a happy childhood with her wonderful parents and siblings. She was active in many extracurricular activities and was valedictorian of her graduating class at Wadena High School. Joan attended the University of Minnesota, where she was elected to the Mortar Board Society (a group comprising the 20 most outstanding women on campus), was a member of Kappa Delta, treasurer of the Pan Helenic Society, and a member of the campus YWCA. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota in 1947 and a master’s degree in 1949 from the Columbia School of Social Work in New York City.
She met her future husband on a train when she was returning to New York from a Christmas visit to Minnesota. When she arrived at home, she told her roommate that she had met the man she was going to marry. She married Robert Evander Weber on the following Dec. 21, 1950, in her New York apartment. Joan and Bob moved to Syracuse, N.Y., where Bob took a teaching position at Syracuse University and Joan worked for a social services agency. After several moves and the births of three children, they settled in Long Valley, N.J., where they raised their family. Joan stayed at home with her young children and for several years was largely a single parent when Bob was working for the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare in Washington, D.C. During this time, Joan was instrumental in establishing a local library and she acted as a volunteer when it opened. She served on the PTA and with her husband she helped found the Association for Children with Learning Disabilities. After her children were well established in school she resumed her social work career and worked at Welkind Neurological Hospital, in Chester, N.J., until her retirement. While at Welkind, she supported patients and families, and was ahead of her time in navigating the insurance bureaucracy to get her patients the services they needed. She also pioneered programs for independent living for her wheelchair-bound clients.
In 1945, Joan volunteered in a summer program for children in Stonington. She fell in love with the place and the people, and the family vacationed there each year. When Joan retired, she was finally able to find her house by the sea in Maine and she moved to Little Deer Isle in 1990. She immediately immersed herself in the community and used every moment of her time to serve others. She began as a volunteer for Healthy Peninsula, Growing Up Reading, and as a mentor in the elementary school. Joan also became a hospice volunteer and helped families in this capacity for about 20 years, then remained active in an advisory capacity. She joined the board of the Washington-Hancock Community Agency and was helpful in the development of the Incubator without Walls and Machias daycare center. She also helped to found Friendship Cottage, in Blue Hill, a center that provides vital daycare services for dependent adults. She continued her work with WHCA until her death. Joan was also on the board of the Eastern Agency on Aging and believed in the agency’s vital work. Joan was also a mentor, role model, and cheerleader for many people in our community. She touched countless lives with her kindness, acceptance, lack of judgment, and belief in the inherent worth of every person.
Joan was grateful for the gift of getting to live each day and appreciating all that was contained within it. She took great joy in the natural world and was awed and delighted by her observations and those of others. She sought to learn something every day: she recently completed her last Senior College course and was active in a book group.
Joan was predeceased by her husband, Robert. She is survived by her children Robert and his wife Nancy of Boston; Virginia, daughter Jill and husband Rick Mack, of Bar Harbor; and son John, of Bangor. She is also survived by grandchildren Jill, Erin, Tristan, Devin and Maeve, and great-grandson Henry, all of whom adored their Grammie. She leaves behind many, many other people who loved and respected her. A celebration of her life will be held this summer; an announcement will follow. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Hancock County Healthcare and Hospice and Hospice Volunteers of Hancock County or to the charity of your choice.