Joanne P. Carr

Joanne P. Carr, 83, of Grand Island, a devoted mother and grandmother and an active conservationist and columnist, passed away on Monday (Dec. 28, 2009) at Sisters Hospital in Buffalo.

She was born July 7, 1926, in St. Petersburg, Fla., the daughter of Ralph F. and Katharine A. Pinner.

She grew up in the Buffalo area after moving around the country as a child while her father was employed as a landscape architect and town planner for both the federal government and for his own firm. She graduated from Kenmore High School.

Joanne and her late husband, Robert F. Carr, met as teenagers on the bus to Randolph High School, which she attended while her father was executive secretary of Allegany State Park.

 On Nov. 25, 1944, she and Bob were married at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Buffalo. Joanne’s greatest joy was her family of six children, 15 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Joanne and Bob Carr moved to Grand Island in 1951. Joanne worked and contributed to the betterment of her hometown for more than five decades.

She owned the Carr and Family health food and plant store on Grand Island Boulevard from 1977-80. She sold advertising, Avon products and did survey service work.

She was the first woman to run for the Grand Island Town Board in 1973.

She served on Grand Island’s Commission for Conservation of the Environment from 1971 through 2006, and was chairman for many of those years. In that capacity, she worked tirelessly for the environment, bringing her insight, research and dedication to the job. She championed preserving open space and green space for the town, and was a member of the Land Conservancy. She also served on the town’s master plan update committee. She was instrumental in helping to obtain funding for sidewalks near the Marion E. Klingel Town Commons and, along with her husband, helped install native plantings there. She chaired Earth Day tree plantings at Island elementary schools and helped secure scholarships for youth to attend conservation camp. She was garden chairman of the Grand Island Historical Society.

She was an original member of Housewives to End Pollution, a group that led to the banning of phosphates in waterways and the cleanup of the waters of the Niagara River and the Great Lakes.

A proclamation was issued by the Town Board in her honor in 2006 for her 35 years of volunteer service to the town.

She was secretary and sergeant-at-arms of the Grand Island Democratic Committee and was a Democratic committeewoman for more than 15 years. She also served as an elections inspector.

She became involved in Girl Scouting on the Island in 1951 and was a leader for 10 years. She was a Boy Scout troop chairwoman and den mother for many years, as well. She sang in the choir and was a Sunday School coordinator at St. Martin-in-the Fields Episcopal Church on Grand Island. She served as a remedial reading volunteer in Island elementary schools and was a ski club chaperone for the high school.

For 10 years she baked memorable pies and pastries for her son, Michael’s restaurant, the Village Inn on Grand Island. Late in life she began a new career as a cooking columnist, first for the Grand Island Dispatch from 2006-08, and most recently for the Lockport Union-Sun and Journal, where her latest column was published Dec. 27. Her homespun stories and humorous anecdotes of family life were as intrinsic as the recipes were to her columns. Her work was also published in the Allegany State Park Historical Society Journal.

She wrote and illustrated stories for her grandchildren and was a talented craftswoman and seamstress, sewing many of her children’s clothes as they were growing up.

She was an avid conservationist and outdoorswoman and enjoyed spending time in and around the family’s cabin in Portville and in Allegany State Park. She was a hunter and spent many summers camping and hiking. She was a fan of bluegrass music and attended many concerts with her late husband.

Joanne is survived by a daughter Karen (Dennis) Keefe of Grand Island; and five sons, Jeffrey F. (Nelly) of Tomball, Texas; Pastor Daniel P. (Eileen) of Allegany; Gary J. (Mary) of South Wales; Timothy S. (Laurie) and Michael D. (Christine) of Grand Island; cousins Sally Willet of Williamsville, James N. Carr of Randolph and David L. Carr of Westfield; a brother-in-law, the Rev. Kevin (Kathy) of Hinckley, Minn.; and a sister-in-law, Deborah (Newt) Ronan of Cincinnati; 13 grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

She was predeceased by grandsons Stephen J. and Leon D. Carr.

A memorial service and celebration of her life will be held at 2 p.m. Jan. 9 at Trinity United Methodist Church, 2100 Whitehaven Road, Grand Island. Burial will take place at Steamburg Cemetery in the Town of Coldspring.