HEATHSVILLE—L. Joan Clements of Heathsville passed away in her sleep on January 19, 2019. She was preceded in death by her husband of 64 years, Robert John Clements, who passed away on September 13, 2015.
She is survived by five children, Judy Clements (Joseph Thompson), R. Bruce Clements (Arline), Paul Clements, Donna Godwin (Philip Godwin) and Rosemary Clements (Ed Pickens); six grandchildren, Justin Trotter, Meredyth Fasulo, Lauren McLain, Eric Godwin, Amanda Glasgow and Nicholas Clements; three great-grandchildren, Spencer Fasulo, Ashlyn Fasulo and Kethry McLean; her brother, Reginald Madden; and beloved nieces, nephews and countless treasured friends.
Mrs. Clements was born in Paris, Ontario, Canada, on November 24, 1933, the first of two children to Gordon D. and Kathleen A. (nee Wall) Madden. As a child growing up in a small, depression-era farming community Joan found joy in the natural world around her. She learned, by her parents’ example, the importance of being kind and caring. But most of all she discovered the joys of reading, writing and learning. She would hold and share these passions up until the very last months of her life.
While attending high school in Oshawa, Ontario, she met and fell in love with a fellow in a “tweedy brown jacket and sandy brown hair . . . not my type.” They were married in Paris, Ontario on June 17, 1951.
They moved throughout the northeast U.S. as they built their family and as Bob advanced his career building churches and schools settling, finally, in Vienna, where they lived, worked and raised their children for 30 years. Joan built a career in management for school food services in Fairfax County Public Schools.
Just before her 42nd birthday she became a naturalized citizen of the U.S. She was a cheerful, positive force in her community, a compassionate friend, an amazing cook, a talented writer, piano player, seamstress, gardener and a voracious reader—always a voracious reader! Just when you think she might slow down nearing retirement she enrolled in George Washington University and earned her degree in Business Administration with a minor in Accounting.
Retirement did come in 1982 when Bob and Joan built their home on the Great Wicomico River in Heathsville. They immersed themselves completely into a community of wonderful friends and neighbors. Joan expanded her love of gardening, conceiving of, tending and sharing from her flower garden overlooking the banks of the river.
She became a Master Gardener and a member of the Chesapeake Bay Garden Club where she was a very active member for over 22 years and club president from 2011-2013. We watched in awe as she corralled forces of club, family and friends to share the beauty of nature. One favorite project involved convincing school children to plant 4000 bulbs in front of Northumberland High School. The sight continues to delight each spring. Joan was valued for her vast knowledge of horticulture, able to identify most species by both common and botanical names. Even as the ravages of Alzheimer’s stole her memory, she could recite the Latin name of a favorite specimen.
Joan was an active volunteer in the Northern Neck. At the Reedville Fishermen’s Museum, she served as a docent and co-chair of the hospitality committee for several years. Until 2017 she served as a pharmacy technician for the Northern Neck -Middlesex County Free Health Clinic in Kilmarnock. She volunteered for the Red Cross and eventually served as the executive director for the Northumberland Chapter. For her contributions in this role she was awarded Woman of the Year for Northumberland County in 2009 by the Northumberland County Woman’s Club.
She blessed our lives. She was pure joy.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, January 26, at Currie Funeral Home in Kilmarnock, followed by interment at Old Fairfields Cemetery in Edwardsville. Family and friends are invited to celebrate Joan’s remarkable life at noon at Horn Harbor Restaurant in Burgess.