Joan Lorraine Bennett Robinson, 86

joanieGreat Chebeague Island – Joan Lorraine Bennett Robinson passed away on June 6, 2018 after declining health due to congestive heart failure. 

Joan’s warm smile, contagious laugh, positive spirit, and ability to lead by example endeared her to all who knew her.  She always said that if she died before she was 89 that she would have died young.  From childhood she loved riding her bike around the Chebeague, taking long walks, eating her lunch on the shore, and swimming at the Chebeague pool.  

Joan was born in Portland on May 31, 1932, the daughter of Julian and Edna Powers Bennett.  Her early years were spent in Waterville. Her family moved to Bath in 1938.  She graduated from Morse High School in 1950 and regularly attended her class reunions and kept up with her classmates.  Despite her love of Bath and her life-long friends there, her heart was always on Chebeague Island, her father’s ancestral home. From early childhood she spent vacations and weekends on the island staying with her Aunt Mabel and Uncle Roy and strengthening her deep island roots, which extend back to 1756.  Joan moved to Chebeague full time when she married Bud Robinson on June 6, 1950.  Ironically, she passed on what would have been her 65th anniversary. 

Joan immersed herself in island life and served on the boards of nearly all of the island’s many organizations. She was the face of the Chebeague Health Center, volunteering as the receptionist for nearly two decades.  Because of her many contributions to the Chebeague Historical Society, she was honored with a life membership.  She served as secretary to many island organizations. Her minutes were thorough and incredibly entertaining – an example of her zest for life and great sense of humor.  Joan loved to sing and was a member of Chebeague’s Whalers.  She was a willing participant in theatrical productions and was a season’s ticket holder at Maine State Music Theater.  For nearly 50 years until she was 84, Joan singlehandedly put flags on the veterans’ graves at the Chebeague Cemetery following a Memorial Day tradition begun by her aunt and her grandmother nearly a century ago.

Joan’s greatest and most heartfelt island contributions were to the Chebeague United Methodist Church and the Ladies Aid Society.  She taught Sunday school and for decades served as a Trustee of the Church. Joan was a mainstay of the Aid and worked tirelessly to keep the Church buildings and grounds in good condition.  Her faith was deep and strong.  As one islander said, “When Joan gets to heaven, she won’t have to stand in line”.

Joan loved to travel.  She and her late husband travelled throughout the United States, and Joan trekked with friends to Italy, Greece, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Ireland, Scotland, and England.  Two of her favorite trips were with her granddaughters to the Grand Canyon and Hawaii.  While in her late 70s she participated in a Methodist Mission Trip to Guatemala.

Joan was a proud American who worked at the polls for decades and was thrilled to have attended three presidential inaugurations in Washingon, D.C.

Family was extremely important to Joan.  She hosted large extended family gatherings at Thanksgiving, looked forward the annual Bennett family reunion at Quaker Point, and always served Oakhurst milk!  

Joanie B, as she was fondly known, was predeceased by her parents; her brother, Gene Bennett; husband, Bud Robinson; and beloved grandson, William Robinson.

She is survived by sons, Gene and Mike Robinson both of Chebeague; granddaughters, Amy Sidor of Monroe, Michigan and Ashley Adams of Falmouth; great granddaughters Whitney and Morgan Adams of Falmouth; several dear nieces and nephews; and many cousinsjoanieatschool.

Two life-long friends also survive her: Mary Philbrick of Gorham and Sylvia Ross of Chebeague.  Joan Robinson thought of the entire Chebeague Community as family, and she has left a huge void.

The family would like to thank the staff of Chebeague’s Island Commons, which is truly a special place, and a special thank you to Ginny Ballard PA for her great care and support at this sad and difficult time.  Thanks also to Dr. Pat Phillips for her care of Joan over the years.

A service to celebrate Joan’s life will be held at the Chebeague United Methodist Church on June 24 at 1 PM. 

In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to the Chebeague United Methodist Church or the Island Commons.


Joan and Martha

Joanie in Guatemala - above travelling on top of the bus

2011 as a star in Arsenic and Old Lace along with Mabel Doughty

Joanie with the healthcare group -