Joan Deaderick

Memorial Service

10:00 am
Saturday, October 21, 2023
Church of Our Saviour
21 Marathon Street
Arlington, Massachusetts, United States

Obituary of Joan E. Deaderick

Deaderick, Joan Elizabeth of Burlington, MA, formerly of Carmel, NY and the Bronx. She leaves beloved longtime life partner Barbara L. Povey, niece Jennifer Deaderick, grand-niece Rosalind (Rosie) Deaderick Layman, and nephew Alexander Deaderick.


Joan always wanted to know how to make things work. As a child, she loved building and running toy trains with her father, Alfred, and tinkering with electrical sets with her brother, Jim. It was Joan who would fix the family car in her teens. In her later years, she loved telling the story as a teen building a light-dimming switch for a church stage production by placing two leads in a jar of salt-water. 


The church was a consistent theme through her life. Her parents, Alfred and Rosalind, had met in the church the family attended in the Bronx, and it was a center of their social life. Joan’s interest ran deeper, as Joan’s interests usually did. Her lifelong exploration of Christianity was both mystical and intellectual, making conversations with her on the subject fascinating and illuminating. 


Her love of science and figuring things out led her first to the Bronx High School of Science then to her mother’s alma mater, Hunter College at City University of New York. She would then earn a Master’s of Science in physics at the Ohio State University. 


After graduation, she held jobs at IBM and Bell Labs. While she loved the work, being a woman in such a male-dominated field was tough and took a toll on her mental health. 


She then pursued a PhD in her other great passion, music. In her teens, she and her friend Gerald had frequently taken the subway to Manhattan to watch world-class classical performances. This set her standards high. In her later years, she was still able to hear a single sub-par performance in a recorded piece, often to the point she couldn’t continue to listen, complaining to her partner, Barbara, about an errant oboe before switching it off. 


Though she never completed the PhD, her pursuit of it enabled her to spend many happy years learning everything she could about Baroque music. 


Not much of a living could be made in Baroque classical analysis, so she was open to the possibility when her brother lured her to Boston to become a computer programmer. It was the late Seventies, when everything was still on mainframes with terminals. She worked at Cortex and Digital, and was a natural at computer code, as her brother knew she would be.


Music continued to be an essential part of her life with her 50-year side gig as a church organist. The organ was the perfect instrument for her, complicatedly technical and resoundingly dramatic. She played several string instruments as well, many from the Baroque period, and was often brought in to play for special performances with church musical groups, bringing her great joy.


Her work as a musician would eventually bring her to Grace Episcopal Church in Medford, where she met her dear friends Wiley and Michael. With their support and encouragement, Joan came out to her mother. At first her mother was surprised, but then was as accepting of it as you’d expect a lifelong New Yorker to be. 


This gave her the courage to romantically pursue Barbara, a stunning soprano in the church choir. Twenty-seven years later, Joan’s greatest sadness when she knew she was dying was that she wouldn’t have more time to spend with her true love.


A memorial service will be held on Saturday, October 21st at 10 a.m. in the Church of Our Saviour, Joan’s beloved religious community, 21 Marathon Street, Arlington, Massachusetts. 


Contributions may be made to the Church of Our Saviour Accessibility Fund, 21 Marathon St., Arlington, MA 02474


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