Obituary: Joan M. Cawley, 1930-2017 | Obituaries | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Obituary: Joan M. Cawley, 1930-2017 

Published December 8, 2017 at 5:30 a.m. | Updated December 8, 2017 at 11:11 a.m.

Joan Marie Cawley (Ardini), 87, passed away peacefully on Wednesday December 6, 2017 after a long illness. Joan was born in Winthrop Massachusetts on June 6, 1930 and raised in Revere, Massachusetts by her mother Emily and her father Edward. Joan graduated at the top of her class from Revere High School in 1948, followed by an Associates Degree in Business from Burdette College in 1950. After school, she worked for many years at the Boston Herald Traveller newspaper and spoke fondly of its fast-paced environment and adventurous staff.

In 1954, Joan met her husband Jim on a blind date in Harvard Square. They were married on September 4th, 1954 in Peabody, Massachusetts. In 1957, Jim took a job at Northfield High School and they moved to Vermont. They started a family soon after. In later years, they spoke often of their friends and colleagues and the time they spent there as a young family. In 1963, Jim took a job at the newly formed Champlain Valley Union (CVU) High School and he and Joan moved to Charlotte where they continued to raise their family over the next 38 years. They were an integral part of the CVU community and active members of the parish of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.

Once her five children were in school, it was back to office work for Joan. She was employed for many years as a bookkeeper at Dakin Farm in Ferrisburg and North Country Landscaping in South Burlington. She went on to work as a customer support representative at Camden House Publishing and Eating Well Magazine in Charlotte, retiring in 1993.

Joan had a love of travel, first with her children to Canada, Maine and Disney World, then with her friends on bus trips around New England. Joan soon realized she could organize these trips more economically herself and became the “travel agent” for her church and senior groups, making their way to Montreal, Atlantic City and Las Vegas. Although never more serious than the casino slot machine or church bingo hall, Joan did enjoy gambling, even making it to Monte Carlo once on a tour of Europe. Ever frugal, she kept a tally of her expenses and winnings and would be proud to say she is still ahead.

“Nana Joan” was a loving grandmother and great-grandmother and enjoyed spending time watching soccer games, driving to after school events, attending concerts and plays, and even being teased about a Boston accent, that stuck with her long, long after she moved to Vermont. Joan’s other lifelong hobby was knitting, sometimes speed knitting. Afghans and scarfs were her specialties, expressions of love she shared with family and friends. Joan loved movies and was an avid reader.

Joan was predeceased by her husband James F. Cawley, who passed away in 2013; they were married for 58 years.

Joan is survived by her children, Ed and his wife Kathy (Colchester), Tom and his wife Mary Pat (Shelburne), Jon and his wife Paula (Ivyland, PA), Lisa (South Burlington), Laura and her partner Matt (Shelburne); nine grandchildren: Stephany, Ashley, Justin, Jordan, Matthew, Hannah, Patrick, Elise and Cole and two great granddaughters: Natalie and Cassidy. Joan is also survived by her sisters Donna (Edward) Albano (Salem, MA) and Mary Carbone (Dover, NH), brother-in-law John Cawley (Hanover, NH), sister-in-law Elizabeth Cawley, CSJ (Boston MA), aunt Anne Rafferty (Topsfield, MA), sister-in-law Rosaline Ardini (Hampstead, NH), many nieces and nephews. Joan’s brother Robert Ardini, passed away in 2002.

The family wishes to thank Dr. Alicia Cunningham and the nurses, caregivers and staff at Pillsbury South for the support they have provided these past 4 years. We are particularly grateful to Beata Byrd whose bond with our mother was of great comfort to her, and to us.

A Mass celebrating Joan’s life was held on Tuesday December 12th, 9 AM at St. Jude Catholic Church in Hinesburg, with burial following at Resurrection Park Cemetery in South Burlington.

To honor Joan’s memory, our family suggests that you sponsor a family in need this Holiday Season so that they may enjoy the gifts of Christmas, a holiday which was most special to our Mother and at which she excelled.

Arrangements are in the care of Ready Funeral Home, Burlington. To send online condolences to her family please visit

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