Joan Benham

Friday, December 07, 2018

MIDDLETOWN, CT — Joan Heath Coleman Beach Benham, of Middletown, Connecticut and formerly of Canaan, New Hampshire, Hamden, Connecticut and Orange, Connecticut passed away on November 22, 2018 from natural causes while receiving treatment at Yale New Haven Hospital.

Joan was a Registered Nurse, a farmer of sheep, pigs, and numerous things of a vegetarian nature. She was a teacher, a mentor, a philosopher, a debater, a spinner, a weaver, a knitter, a painter and a musician. She was known to play the fife, the ukulele and above all, the piano. Joan enjoyed downhill and cross country skiing in her youth and was a masterful indoor badminton player.

Joan carried an optimistic outlook on all the surprises life threw her way. Joan enjoyed sitting behind her Baldwin Piano in her studio and playing her practiced renditions of Bach, Chopin, Hayden, Tchaikovsky–and the Boogie Woogie. Joan held a vigorous appreciation of the fiber arts, painting in watercolors, conducting instructional weaving classes with her children and grandchildren. We will miss her political acumen, her sense of humor, her passion for a good debate, and her zest for deep philosophical discussions. A true Renaissance Woman, Joan lived a good and balanced life.

Joan was born in New Haven, Connecticut on April 20, 1930. She was the only child of Donald Coleman and Sarah Frances Williams Coleman of Hamden, Connecticut. Joan attended Hill House High School and then received her R.N. from the University of Connecticut while later furthering her nursing studies at Yale University School of Medicine.

Joan was predeceased by her first husband and the father of her two children, Donald E. Beach of Hamden Connecticut; also by her mother, Sarah Frances Williams Coleman of Brattleboro, Vermont and by her husband, Milner L. Benham of Canaan, New Hampshire. Joan is survived by her two children, Gary Michael Beach and his wife, Janis L. Esposito, of Branford and by her daughter, Deborah Susan Beach Wojick and her husband, Frank Wojick, Jr., of Killingworth Connecticut. Joan also leaves her four grandchildren: Victoria F. Wojick of Boston, Massachusetts; Matthew J. Wojick of San Francisco, California; Kiana Jocelyn Beach of Branford, Connecticut and Kaitlyn J Beach-Ator and her husband, Bryce Ator, both of Danville, Indiana. Additionally, Joan leaves her step-son, Burton M. Benham of Norwalk, Connecticut and her step-daughter, Linda B. Riggins of Biloxi, Mississippi. Joan will also be missed by her many friends and family in Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, Kentucky and Utah.

She has donated her remains to the Yale University School of Medicine. Private services will be held at a future date, time and location to be planned by the family. Donations in lieu of flowers may be made to the Yale University School of Medicine to further the advancement of the healing arts.