Joan Marie Gilleran

July 31, 1923 ~ May 10, 2019 (age 95)


Joan Marie Gilleran passed away peacefully in her sleep on Friday, May 10, 2019

Born Joan Marie Valacer on July 31, 1923 at St Joseph’s Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island, Joan grew up in Millville. She married her high school sweetheart, Lawrence Francis Gilleran, on April 28, 1945. The loving couple was blessed with a son, Sean Thomas Gilleran, on August 26, 1947. The family lived on Park Drive in Boston until 1953, when they moved to Taylor Avenue in Dedham, Massachusetts. Two years after Lawrence’s death in 1994, Joan moved to Middletown, RI to live next door to her sister Lucille Hem.

Joan was a creative entrepreneur whose favorite pastimes included painting, crafting and knitting sweaters and scarves for her grand-daughter and great grandchildren. Joan started a cake-decorating school that she operated out of her basement, which her husband had transformed into a culinary classroom. She also ran her own crafting company and sold her original creations at craft fairs in and around Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

A dedicated gardener, Joan’s orchids won first or second place for consecutive years at the Newport Flower Show.

Joan was a lifelong devout Catholic. She was a proud member of the Holy Name Society of Millville, MA, Treasurer of the Catholics Women’s Club of Dedham, MA, and member of St. Lucy’s Church Women’s Club and Liturgy Committee. She also served as a Board Member of the Middletown Senior Center.

Joan is survived by her son Sean Thomas Gilleran, her grand-daughter Shana and three great grand-children Audrey, Jack, and Avery of Peoria, AZ.

Joan’s wake is scheduled from 4PM to 7PM on ­­Monday, May 13, 2019 at Memorial Funeral Home 375 Broadway in Newport. Funeral Mass will be at St Lucy Church 909 W. Main Rd Middletown RI at 9:00 AM Tuesday, May 14. Burial will follow at 12 Noon at St Charles Cemetery in Blackstone, MA.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Saint Clare Nursing Home 309 Spring Street Newport RI. 02840 or Hope Health Hospice in 1085 N. Main St., Providence, RI 02904.

Online tribute at

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Visiting Hours
May 13, 2019

4:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Memorial Funeral Home
375 Broadway
Newport, RI 02840

Mass of Christian Burial
May 14, 2019

9:00 AM
St. Lucy's Church
909 West Main Road
Middletown, RI 02842

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