FARMINGTON — Joan Almyra Haley passed away on April 17, 2021 with her children by her side.
Born in Delaware to Eleanor Ruth McCranie and Bryant McCranie on Oct. 26, 1930, Joan later went to live with her Aunt Josie and Uncle Sherm in Bridgewater Hill, New Hampshire. She spent most of her childhood in this small, rural community, attending a one room school. Having no siblings to play with, she promised herself that one day she would have a big family. And so she did.
In 1949 Joan enrolled in nursing school in Manchester, New Hampshire. It was there that she met her soulmate Francis Haley who was serendipitously laid up with a football injury. After writing letters to one another from afar for three years, Joan and Frank were married in 1952. Joan remembers her lonely years as being officially over at that point.
For 66 years Joan and Frank adventured all across the country. Whether it was apartment rentals, campsites, a homemade trailer, or RVs, Joan was able to create a home wherever she and her growing family went. She is probably still grinning as she recalls the time a herd of wild horses ran through her makeshift clothesline full of clean cloth diapers while camping in Yellowstone National Park. Joan found “home” in her love for Frank and her children, the houses, front yards and zip codes were simply the cliff notes.
In 1961 the Haleys decided to put down roots in Surry, New Hampshire. Frank took a position teaching at Keene State College and Joan decided to focus her energy on raising their children and keeping their home running smoothly. It was at this time that Joan was reconnected with her long-lost sister Carol. Carol was adopted at a young age, but as fate would have it, she stumbled across Frank while enrolled at Keene State. Joan and Frank invited her over for dinner and so began the rekindling of what would become a lifelong friendship further strengthened by Carol’s marriage to Frank’s younger brother Bill.
Even after putting down roots, first in Surry, and later on in Farmington, Maine, the Haleys were always on an adventure. Joan looked forward to her annual quilting trip with her friends, and the couple joined a caravan of other RVs for a memorable road trip to Alaska. Perhaps their favorite adventure of all was each and every time they left for their camp in the Maine woods. With seven children and various pets in tow, the couple would head to the lake for the entire summer to live with no electricity or running water. Joan and Frank even chose to spend their honeymoon in the isolation of the forest. Joan found immeasurable peace in the mountain sunsets, the loon songs and the smell of bacon frying on the giant woodstove.
Whether it was square dancing, church, or quilting, Joan was always building up community wherever she was. She was a true social butterfly and cherished her friends and family, particularly her seven amazing children and her 15 grandchildren.
She will be remembered in so many ways by all those who loved her. Hundreds of Joan’s intricate and colorful quilts exist in the world with friends and family and even strangers. Her many grandchildren and great grandchildren will remember her tins of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, picking fresh raspberries at camp to later be turned into pastries and jam, her constant bustling in the kitchen even after everyone else was settled at the table, her storybook flower gardens and her freshly grown vegetables. Her no-nonsense approach to getting things done, including breast cancer. Twice.
Joan is survived by her sister Carol Haley; her brother Allan McCranie and his wife Metta McCranie and their children and families; her sister-in-law Barbara Phillips and her family; her son Dana Haley and wife Joni Haley; her daughters Marguerite Smith; Diane Haley; Karen Gilbert; Sharri Kapiloff and husband Glenn Kapiloff; Cynthia Sylva; daughter Camelia Babson-Haley and her husband Rob. She is survived by her grandchildren and their partners: Megan and Scott Vos, Garrett and Devan Smith, Ayla and Owen Davidson, Jackie Gilbert and Kurt Bertram, Amber and Ryan Stone, Brandon Haley and Sooyoung Yoo, Emily Smith, Stephanie and Jared Kirk, Jeremiah Haley and Aaron Hukari, Leanna Kapiloff, Joshua and Ashlie Sylva, Zacc Sylva, Elliot Smith and Kaylynn Harlan, Michelle Sylva and Raymone Jennings and Jordan Kapiloff. She is also survived by a growing number of great grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.
Joan was predeceased by her beloved husband Frank Haley, their daughter Mary Ellen; her sons-in-law Robert Gilbert and Craig Smith; her mother Eleanor McCranie and father Bryant McCranie, her brother in-law John Phillips; her mother-in-law Marguerite Jane and her father-in-law Harold Haley; her brother-in-law Harold Haley and his wife Francoise Haley; and brother-in-law Raphael William Haley.
Donations may be made in her memory to Youth and Family Outreach, 331 Cumberland Ave, Portland, ME 04101 a non-profit that works to empower children and their families. Joan was a champion of children and would be proud to know that she is remembered by supporting an organization doing wonders for families, especially since YFO has been led by her daughter Camelia for the last 21 years.
A Memorial Mass will be held at 11:00 a.m. on May 8, 2021 at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Farmington, Maine. COVID-19 guidelines will be followed.
Arrangements are cared for by Wiles Remembrance Center: Adams-McFarlane Chapel 137 Farmington Falls Rd. Farmington. A kind word may be left in her Book of Memories at www.wilesrc.com