Joan Bird Vaitones
Tenants Harbor — Joan Bird Vaitones, 87, died Monday, Jan. 27, 2014, unexpectedly at Pen Bay Medical Center in Rockport.
Born in Falconer, N.Y. March 30, 1926, she was the daughter of Floyd and Charlotte H. Bird and attended the Falconer schools. From high school she went on to be the first in her family to attend college and graduated from Cornell University in 1947 where she majored in the sciences and math.
It was at Cornell where she met her husband Frank as he was assigned to a military training program for several weeks. They married in 1948 and moved to Midcoast Maine where her husband started his teaching career at Rockland High School teaching Industrial Arts. Joan was a homemaker for the first three years of their marriage. Always a risk taker and willing to take on adventures, she and Frank bought the Knox Hotel in Thomaston and ran the hotel for the next 11 years. Joan was the day-to-day manager, and was everything from fill in cook to housekeeper as Frank continued his teaching career in Thomaston. In 1964 they sold the hotel and moved to the shore of Teal Cove at the mouth of the St. Georges River, where she lived up until the day of her passing.
In 1965 she started her career as a teacher, teaching seventh-and-eighth-grade math and science in the St. George Junior High School, where she taught until her retirement in 1987. Her passion was math and the special moments in the classroom when a concept was grasped.
The house and gardens she maintained were a very important part of her life. She planted vegetables that were for all of the “summer neighbors” to help themselves to. She loved her pond and could often be seen in a small skiff in the middle of it pulling up the cat-in-nine tails and weeds. She loved going out to various islands with her son and daughter-in-law where she would beach comb for hours on end picking up sea glass that she would then use to decorate small Christmas tree ornament wreaths. And all boating outings required a mandatory stop for ice cream whether at the dock in Castine or on the road at Round Top.
Joan loved people and especially debating politics at cocktail parties and playing poker and Scrabble as long as her opponents were gracious losers. She was a gifted seamstress and loved to knit and quilt.
Joan was predeceased by her husband, Frank, of 30 years, her parents Floyd Bird Sr. and Charlotte Bird; a sister Betty Ericson Feyler; and her two brothers Floyd Bird Jr. and Richard Bird. She is survived by her son Scott and his wife Ginny of Tenants Harbor, as well several nephews and nieces and their families.
Relatives and friends are invited to visit Tuesday, Feb. 4, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Burpee, Carpenter & Hutchins Funeral Home, and 110 Limerock St., Rockland. A private burial will be held this summer at Teal Cove to celebrate her life.
Joan loved flowers but she loved animals even more so at her request memorial donations may be made to Pope Memorial Humane Society of Knox County, PO Box 1294, Rockland, ME 04841 or to any charitable foundation of your choice.