Joan Kinsella Keith
- December 17, 2021
Let us live then and be glad, while young life is before us – Gaudeamus Igniter
Joan Kinsella Keith peacefully passed away, with family by her side, Saturday, September 18, 2021, after a blessingly brief struggle with Alzheimer’s. She was 88.
Joan Carole Kinsella was born August 17, 1933, in Brookline, MA to James and Impi Kinsella.
She grew up with her brother and sister in Brookline during the school year and in Cazenovia, NY, her “favorite places on earth,” during summers. Her father and mother worked for the Chard family and Joan loved to tell stories of her time at the Chard estate, “the big house” and all her friends she made in Cazenovia.
After graduating from Brookline High, she worked for a time at the Asia Foundation and Harvard University, the subject of many of her stories. Then, her longtime childhood friend from Cazenovia, a student at Cornell University and member of the Delta Chi fraternity, introduced her to her (future) husband, Frederick Keith II.
During their marriage they lived in San Francisco, CA, Trumansburg, Erieville, and Cazenovia, NY. They had four children and enjoyed many road trips driving through New England and historic areas during the summers. In 1983 they began the renovation and restoring of Rose Hill in Cazenovia. Joan loved her time here, especially Christmas, with the entire family gathered. Another favorite spot with family was the summer vacations they took to Farleigh on Orr’s Island, ME. They then bought “The Coddige” on Hatch Lake in Eaton, NY and this became the summertime place to be with family and friends. It was full of life and joy for many years.
Later in life Joan, or “Grammer” as she was called by all, became somewhat of a nomad enjoying her MOST favorite place… with her kids. She spent summers at the Coddige with a week at Farleigh, spring and fall in CT and winters in CA and FL. Wherever her children, grand or great-grandchildren were, that’s where you would find Grammer. She loved them all deeply and gave of her time unconditionally. She always put them first, before herself, in everything she did. She enjoyed volunteering for all her kids’ activities, sports, and schools.
After family, she loved the Boston Red Sox! She was a life-long fan, watching and cheering them every game, even while living in a house full of Yankee fans. She was a member of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Cazenovia and Trinity Episcopal in Newtown, CT.
Joan’s memory lives on through her sister, Ellie Kinsella Richards of CA, and her children, Fred (Niki Reed) Keith of NH, Julie (Richard) Mitchell and Sarah (Sheridan) Dowling of NC, Anne (Travis) Nguyen of CA, grandchildren, Richard Mitchell of SC, Frederick (Nicole) Stahl of PA, Hollis (Sean) Levardo of CA, Clare and Kristopher Nguyen of CA, three great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews.
In addition to her parents, Joan was predeceased by her brother, Donald Kinsella, and niece Margaret Kinsella.
While no services are planned at this time, the family anticipates a gathering of family and close friends in Cazenovia, NY during the summer of 2022.