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Joan V. Owensby, 78

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. —  Joan Valerie (Girardi) Owensby, 78 of North Adams, MA died on Saturday October 2, 2021at Craneville Place in Dalton.

She was born in North Adams, MA on March 10, 1943, a daughter of Valentino John "Tino" Girardi and Angelina "Lena" (Cozzaglio) Girardi. She attended local schools and graduated from Drury High School with the class of 1961. Joan graduated from the Wilfred Academy School of Cosmetology in Boston and studied early childhood education at Berkshire Community College.

Joan began her career at Family Day Care and then worked at Monument Square Day Care Center. She then established Joanie's Small World Nursery School which she operated for 27 years until her retirement.

She was a communicant of St. Elizabeth of Hungary Church and a member of its Rosary Society. She enjoyed gardening, reading, music and cooking and baking with family and friends. Joan especially enjoyed being with young children and animals; family gatherings and lunch with her friends. She was a staunch supporter of Turner Classic Movies.

Survivors include her son- David M. Owensby of Florida, MA and two grandchildren- Jordan Owensby and Jackson Owensby and her great granddaughter- Dove Heck. She also leaves her sister- Susan M. (George) Galli of Williamston, MA; her nieces and nephews- including Jodi (Brett) Campbell; Lindsay (Chris) Lyon; Mitchell Galli (Sam Lundquist); her grandnieces and grandnephews- Luke Campbell, Aniston Lyon, Ashlyn Campbell, Brooks Lyon, and Macie Campbell. She is also survived by her daughter in law- Sonja Dwyer; her lifelong friend- Bernadette Eastman; her grand-dogs- Dutchess and Zoey; and many cousins and close friends. Her son, John T. Owensby died on March 1, 2013 and her brother, Robert died in infancy. Joan's family would like to thank the VNA and a special thanks to her nurse, Celeste and the wonderful staff at Craneville Place.

For those that didn’t know “Joanie”, she was someone special.

Loved and leaned on, by family, friends and the multigenerational lives of the hundreds of the nursery school children she taught and interacted with. Her practical approach to life led countless people to seek her help and counsel. She was a person of great integrity and was a “vault” when it came to protecting their confidentiality. She experienced great suffering in life yet she always saw the best in people by living a life of kindness and genuineness. Simply put, she was “love” for anyone and everyone no matter who they were or whatever their circumstances happen to be. She was the sunshine in everyone’s day and now that same light shines brightly for her journey home.

FUNERAL NOTICE: A private viewing will be held. A Funeral Mass and burial for Joan Owensby will be at a later date. Memorial donations may be made to St. Elizabeth of Hungary Church or the Arthritis Foundation in care of FLYNN & DAGNOLI-MONTAGNA HOME FOR FUNERALS CENTRAL CHAPEL, 74 Marshall St. North Adams, MA 01247. To add to the Book of Memories, please visit

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Prayers sympathy and heartfelt love go out to all of you at this very sad time🙏🏻😢😢wonderful memories with my daughter who attended JOANIES…I hope the fact that she was loved by all who knew her, eases your pain just alittle Sue, George and family 🙏🏻♥️♥️
from: Michele Boland and familyon: 10-11-2021

We are so sorry to hear about Joan. You are in our thoughts and prayers. She was a wonderful person.
from: Autumn & Donato Mastroiannion: 10-09-2021

I have such fond memories of Joanie as my daughter and many nieces attended her small world nursery school. She was truly a great person. My condolences to all
from: Gayle GALLIon: 10-08-2021

Please know that Joanne was a very special lady. From the first day that she moved on Veazie Street, and how we became neighbors. We all loved for her kindness. She was a very special teacher, when my girls went to her Joannie's Small World. They never forgot how much fun they had when they there,and it was because of Joannie. Please know that you are all in my thoughts and prayers during this sad time. Please try remember all the wonderful times, her smile, her kindness and the love that she had for you. With much love to all...
Love, Janet Lucia
from: Dear Sue, George,David and family,on: 10-08-2021

How fortunate for our children and any and all children to have been cared for and taught by Joannie at her “SmallWorld.” She was a wonderfully caring, patient and fun teacher to all. She demonstrated her love for them every day. We are so sorry to hear of her passing. We send sincere condolences to all her loved ones. Heaven has gained a very special angel.
from: Anne & Steve Quimbyon: 10-08-2021

Dear Sue and family, I was so saddened to read of Joanie’s passing. I remember when she moved across the hall from us at 82 Veazie Street. Such a wonderful nursery school teacher to my girls, and always such a beautiful person. Please know that you are all in my thoughts and prayers. Love, Heather
from: Heather Lemoineon: 10-07-2021

So sorry to hear of Joanie’s passing. I knew Joanie throgh Day Care and admired her passion for children. Heaven has gained a beautiful angel. Sympathy and prayers to all who knew and loved Joanie.
from: Betty Sartorion: 10-07-2021

So very sorry for your loss.
from: Dr.Mary Ellen Morrisseyon: 10-07-2021

Dear Dave & family,
So sorry to read of your Mom’s passing. She is at peace now. May happy memories of the lovely lady she was help you all through this difficult time.
from: Jackie Sutliffon: 10-07-2021

I am so very sorry to hear of Joannie's passing. We first met Joannie when our son Logan attended her Joannie's Small World Nursing School in 2005. Joannie was simply amazing with the children. Logan became great friends with her grandson Jackson who remain friends all these years later. My sincere condolences to the entire family, she will be missed.
from: Amy Briggson: 10-07-2021

Dear Sue and Family, We are so sorry to hear of Joanie's passing. Anyone who knew her loved her. Talking to Joanie always made you feel so comfortable. I always looked up to her from my earliest days on State St. Our Condolences and prayers,
Craig and JoAnn Murch
from: Joan Owensbyon: 10-07-2021

Dave, Sonya, Jordan & families, So sorry to hear of Joanie's passing. My kids had many fun adventures at nursery school. You are in our thoughts.
from: Dave & Connie Yorkeon: 10-07-2021

Dear Sue, George, and family, We are so sorry to read the passing of Joanie. She was a special person to so many children, and adults. A wonderful sister, Mom, and aunt. Please know you are in our thoughts and prayers at this very sad time....
Bill & Mary
from: Mary Whitmanon: 10-07-2021

Sue, I am sorry to read of Joannie's passing. My son, Collin, went to Joannie's Small World and she also watched him in her home on occasion when I had to work late. I have always been thankful for Joannie and her kindness and caring in our lives so many years ago. May your memories keep you in smiles. Kathy
from: Kathy L Williamson: 10-07-2021

Sue, I was so sad to read of Joan’s passing. I have never heard a bad word said about her. She was loved by everyone she ever met. May your memories bring you comfort. Sending prayers for your family.
from: Maureen Taft Mooreon: 10-06-2021

Sue, so sorry to read of your sister's passing. Both my kids went to Joanie's. She was a very nice woman, may she rest in peace.
from: Nancy Roy on: 10-06-2021

So sorry for the loss of such a caring soul We will always remember her kind words and gestures. A special ladywith a heart of gold. May god love and care for this fine lady. God bless her family.

Lou and Sue Chalifoux
from: Sueon: 10-06-2021

So sorry for the loss of such a caring soul We will always remember her kind words and gestures. A special ladywith a heart of gold. May god love and care for this fine lady. God bless her family.

Lou and Sue Chalifoux
from: Sueon: 10-06-2021

Susan, I am so sorry to hear of your sister’s passing. May she Rest In Peace.
from: Elizabeth Ralstonon: 10-06-2021