Martha Joan Pratt

OBIT ISL-PrattSEARSPORT — Martha Joan Pratt, 89, died April 14, 2015, at her home after a brief illness. She was born on June 1, 1925, in Candia, N.H., the only child of Martha G. (Wellbrock) and Walter I. Chapman.

She attended Candia schools. The family then moved to Manchester, N.H., where she graduated from St. Joseph Girls’ High School. During her high school years, she volunteered teaching arts and crafts at the Manchester Girls’ Club and the Catholic Youth Center. Joan attended Simmons College in Boston, Mass., for two years.

On Oct. 11, 1947, she married James A. Pratt at St. Joseph’s Chapel in Manchester, N.H. They moved to Pittsfield, Mass., where her husband was employed by General Electric Co. They later moved to Winterport, Maine, and then to Rockport, Maine. Joan was a Girl Scout leader and a member of the American Legion Auxiliary in both Winterport and Rockport. She was a communicant of Our Lady of Good Hope Catholic Church in Camden. In 1975, Joan and Jim relocated to Searsport. Over the years, they spent many happy summers enjoying their camp at Seal Cove.

A genealogical researcher, she published a book, “The Ancestors and Descendants of Paul Pratt of New Vineyard, Maine,” in 1987.

Joan was a member of the Penobscot Marine Museum, the Maine Genealogical Society, a life member of the Military Order of the Purple Heart Auxiliary and an associate member the Anzio Beachhead Veterans of WWII Auxiliary.

She also belonged to the Maine Old Cemetery Association, and the Tremont and Searsport historical societies. Joan was a 33-year member of the Penobscot Expedition Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and was chapter genealogist, and later, chapter registrar for 20 years. She was very proud of the fact that she could prove descent from 15 ancestors, on her father’s side, who served in the Revolutionary War. Joan was also a member of the Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War, in which she held several state offices.

Like her mother, Joan was a skillful seamstress and made clothing for her three daughters until they were in their teens. It was a family joke to receive on Christmas or birthdays a box with cloth, thread and pattern for the dress she didn’t have time to finish — because she was baking cookies.

Joan was predeceased by James, her husband of 55 years, in 2002. She leaves three daughters, Elizabeth Sheppard and husband Jack Sr., of Lewisville, Texas, Susan Grinnell and husband David, of Scarborough, Maine, and, Katherine Pratt and husband Kurt Lockhart, of Tremont, Maine; and, one son, William J. Pratt and wife, Talma (McGinley) Pratt, of Stockton Springs, Maine. She is also survived by two granddaughters, Olivia (Grinnell) Eastman and Chad, of South Portland, Maine, and Emily (Grinnell) Doerfler and husband, Jeremy, of Portland, Maine. Three great-grandaughters, Hayley, Zoe and Ashley Eastman; four step-granddaughters, Rachel (Curtis) Leavitt and husband, Graham, Renae (Curtis) Traves and husband, Richard, Laura Dunham and fiancé, Chris Lougheed, and Alana (Dunham) Hutchins and husband, Evan; and, one step-grandson, Jack Sheppard, Jr., many nieces and nephews, and several cousins, including Gertrude Wellbrock of Quincy, Mass., also survive her.

The family would like to thank Deborah Peabody, MD, for her many years of warm and attentive care of their mother. Also, thanks to the Searsport EMS crew and the staff of the second floor at Waldo County General Hospital for the wonderful care during her hospitalization. The family also thanks her long-term caregiver, Cheryl Pike, for the companionship she provided Joan over the past several years. Joan also leaves her beloved feline companion, Katie.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. on Monday, April 20, 2015, at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, Belfast, with Father Dominic as celebrant. A reception will be held immediately following the Mass in the Parish Hall of St. Francis Catholic Church. All are invited to attend.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Joan’s name may be made to the Penobscot Marine Museum, P.O. Box 498,Searsport, ME 04974, or the Town Line Animal Shelter,46 Baker Street, Belfast, ME 04915.

Arrangements are under the direction of Young Funeral Home 31 W. Main Street Searsport, ME 04974 (


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