Joan Carol Lebenbaum, 74, of Middlebury


MIDDLEBURY — Joan Carol Lebenbaum, 74, passed away on Feb. 13, 2022, from the effects of COVID. She was predeceased by her parents, Marr and Peg. She is survived by her brother Peter and his wife Marg of Middlebury.

Joan was born on Long Island, N.Y.,  and lived there until she left for college in Ripon, Wis. After graduation she moved to Boston, Mass., where she found a welcoming community and a spiritual home. For 40 years she worked with devotion in the intake department of Massachusetts Eye and Ear and found special pleasure in acting as a guide for residents of the North End, particularly those who spoke English as a second language.

Joan was all things Boston: “I’m a Boston girl,” with specialties in art galleries, the Aquarium, (especially the penguins) and the Patriots, Celtics, Red Sox and Bruins. Her loyalty to these teams did not preclude strong and discerning criticisms: “My grandmother coulda caught that!” She also developed professional skills in photography and calligraphy, which she offered gratis to her friends. Joan’s mischievous smile, her considered and insightful generosity, and her boisterous laughter were eagerly anticipated as highlights of family gatherings.

The transition to Vermont necessitated by the onset of dementia was difficult for one so committed to self-sufficiency. She struggled to accept assistance in the minutia of self-care due to her decline. Yet with persistent, gentle and loving touch of many caregivers at Project Independence, The Residence at Otter Creek and Wintergreen, she was able to experience a confidence that she would be cared for so that even in her last years she found something new, and those qualities which made her so special to family friends and community became gifts to those she lived with.

For those who would like to donate in Joan’s name: Elderly Services, 112 Exchange St., Middlebury, VT 05753. Most importantly, in memory of Joan, give thanks to a caregiver(s) you know.◊

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