RYE, NY- Joanna Steele Creelman died peacefully on Monday, February 1, 2021 after an 8-year battle with Alzheimer’s. She was 77 years old.
Joanna was born January 14, 1944 in New Bedford, MA to George A. Steele and Janet D. Steele. Joanna attended elementary school at Friends Academy (Dartmouth, MA) and graduated from Dartmouth High School in 1962. Joanna was an enthusiastic participant in the New Bedford Yacht Club youth sailing program, a passion that continued throughout her life. Joanna made her debut at the 92nd Assembly Association Presentation at Lincoln Park Ballroom (Dartmouth, MA) in 1961. She went on to attend Garland Junior College (Boston, MA) where she graduated with a degree in Home Economics before working as a writer at This Week Magazine in New York from 1964-66.
Joanna married the love of her life, Scott Creelman, of Melrose, MA on June 17, 1967 at a ceremony on Swift Rd in South Dartmouth, MA. They remained married 44 years until his death in 2011. Together they travelled the world- from the Great Barrier Reef, to Machu Picchu, to Petra. Wherever they went, they made friends and introduced new friends, creating a virtuous circle of love and goodwill that continues today. Some places that were especially meaningful: Jaffrey, NH, Nonquitt, MA, Eel Point on Nantucket, MA, and New Zealand.
They leapt at any opportunity for a new experience. When Scott was offered a job with Spalding Sports in Chicopee, MA, Joanna drove from Philadelphia to Leverett, MA and bought a farm- that day! Two years later, they relocated yet again, this time in Cambridge, UK, where they spent 3 years caravanning a Citroen wagon around Europe. Upon their return in 1982, they were lucky enough to find a historic home available for sale on Main Street in Old Deerfield, MA. New adventure! This house, the town, and Deerfield Academy became their greatest adventure and they remained there for 30 years.
Joanna’s enduring gift was her limitless capacity for loving her family and friends. There was no distance too far, time too late, or snowstorm too deep, that would keep her from them. She enabled and encouraged her kids to pursue their dreams with support and no judgement. When grandkids arrived, she oriented all of her activities around their schedules first. Youth soccer games, school plays, and art shows were all mandatory. Scott captured Joanna’s unbridled spirit in a poem he wrote at the celebration of her 50th birthday entitled, “To Capture A Moonbeam In A Jar”. Of her spirit: “I don’t try to bottle it- it has no bounds.”
Joanna is survived by her son Craig Creelman of Hanover, NH, and his wife, Sudie, and their children Charlie, Edward, Emma, Jack, and by her daughter, Elizabeth Patterson, of Rye, NY, and her husband, Robert, and their children Alexandra, George, and William and by her son William Creelman and his wife, Harley, of Weston, MA, and their children Tanner, Addison, James and Mack. She is also survived by her brother, Alexander G. Steele, and his wife, Marilyn, of Chelmsford, MA, by her sister Sara Steele and her husband, Bernie, of Adamsville, RI, and by her sister Victoria Means and her husband, Charlie, of Providence, RI.
A gathering for friends and family will follow later this summer. Gifts in her memory may be made to Sara's Wish Foundation 23 Ash Lane Amherst, MA 01002 or to the Mass Audubon Society 208 South Great Road Lincoln, MA 01773.