Joanne Lewis Stewart Woodfin


Joanne Lewis Stewart Woodfin, 90, from Brooklyn, N.Y., and Bar Harbor, raised in Roanoke, Va., passed away on Dec. 2, 2018.

Joanne was a lifelong volunteer, generously giving her time and talents to local organizations and charities. Whether creating posters for library book sales or baking for church fundraising events or acting as a guide for summer garden tours, she worked tirelessly to help guarantee an event’s success.

A great joy in Joanne’s life, both professionally and personally, was the 52-acre NYC oasis that is the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Beginning as a volunteer tour guide, in what would turn into a career at the BBG, Joanne from there became treasurer of the BBG Auxiliary, then vice president, and finally president.

And how the Garden grew under her leadership! She established and edited the volunteer and staff newsletter and was instrumental in organizing and/or overseeing numerous fund-raising events, among them The Chili Pepper Festival, The Azalea Ball, The Sakura Matsuri Festival and Gardens Around the World. The funds from which, not only sustained BBG programs, but also helped make possible a new $25 million all-season conservatory.

Joanne served as the president of the Junior League of Brooklyn, president of the PTA of Packer Institute, vice president of the Civetas Club of Brooklyn, vice president of the Park Slope Civic Council, chairman of the Brooklyn Women’s Division of the United Hospital Fund and trustee of both Brookwood Child Care and New York Methodist Hospital.

In 1997, she went to work as an assistant accountant for the ultimate taskmaster, her husband, Paul, as his private practice grew. But Joanne, when time allowed, continued to volunteer at the Garden and in 1997 received the BBG Merit Award, which was followed by the Distinguished Service Award in 2001.

Joanne was also an accomplished artist. She was a prolific painter even as a mother raising four young children, and throughout her life a sketch pad and pencil were never out of reach. Though her early artistic career focused on watercolor and oils — mostly landscapes, still lifes and portraits — in recent years she became immersed in the highly disciplined style of Japanese art called Sumi-ee. She never stopped growing and exploring.

Against all odds, Joanne made it to Maine for one last summer in 2018. Throughout the winter and spring of that year she had been determined to again sit on her Bar Harbor porch with her journal and bible and visit with neighbors. On those warm afternoons that summer she delighted in the company of friends, the comings and goings of hummingbirds at the feeder, and during the very best weeks, being surrounded by her family.

Joanne was predeceased by the love of her life and best friend since eighth grade, Paul, her husband of 60 years.

Her love, kindness and strength will live on and flourish in the hearts of her four loving children, Paul, Sarah, Mary-Stewart and David, and their caring spouses, Mary and Jim, her precious grandchildren, Adam, Paige, Leigh, Amanda, Samantha, Casey, Austin and Griffin, and her treasured great-grand-daughter, Nora. Her life was a gift from God to her family and all who knew her. She will forever be loved and missed.




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