Joanne Vatalaro Smith was born in Rumford on the first of October 1942. Her
father was PFC Anthony Vito Vatalaro, her mother was Theresa McPhee
Vatalaro. Her one brother is Stephen Vatalaro, who lives in Georgia.
She was the mother of four fine stalwart children, Raphael, Gabriel, Jesse and
Jacob and she mothered several Honorary Smith Kids. Her husband is Billy
Smith; they have been married 53 years. Tracie Smith is her dear
daughter-in-law. Heather Smith is another dear daughter-in-law, lost three years
ago. Caroline and Conner are her beloved grandchildren. Richard and Ellen
Smith, Debra Smith and Patsy Jenney, Bob Smith, and Bill and Sharan Ayer are
among relatives whom she loved. She had friends in Canada: Grace
Au-Yeung, Bev Pope, and Jude Giannokopoulos.
She received her Bachelor of Arts from Saint Dunstan’s College, now part of the
University of Prince Edward Island. She settled in Toronto, worked as a writer,
and met Billy. When Jake went off to kindergarten, Joanne went off to
Westbrook College and became an RN. She worked, effective and
knowledgeable, as a clinical floor nurse with a specialty in orthopedic patients.
And she worked advocating for patients, successful and diplomatic, as a nurse
case manager. She always addressed life and life’s issues with the fearless
and generous instincts of a superb nurse. We think she may be the first RN at
Pen Bay Hospital to accept as a patient, a person sick with HIV/AIDS. Her nurse
friends are all so dear to her - Patty Sheehan and Richard Fiske, Linda Esancy,
Nancy Brimer, and Suzanne McKnight.
Joanne was particularly dedicated to the practice and the promotion of
Restorative Justice. In addition, she volunteered extensively inside the state
prison system, where for almost 25 years she mentored prisoners one-to-one.
She also helped to teach the Alternatives to Violence program; prisoners loved
her. She admired Che Guevara. And Frida Kahlo.
A true romantic, she loved Elvis, and “Gone With the Wind” and “Doctor
Zhivago”. She baked bread, did wonderful things with pasta, and made the best
blueberry pancakes ever. She kept a warm and welcoming home. She liked
BBC detective stories, best with her killer popcorn. She loved biography and
20th-century history. She was proud to be named for Joan of Arc.
Death was peaceful, of Alzheimer’s, at home, with family near, on 27 September
2021. Her ashes will rest in the columbarium in Saint Peter’s Church in
Rockland. A memorial service will be announced in due time.
Please, if you like, send a donation in her name to
Attn. Joanne Smith Memorial Fund
Restorative Justice Project - Maine
PO box 141
Belfast, ME 04915
Through the website:
Be sure to indicate that this gift is in honor of Joanne.
Memories and condolences may be shared at www.directcremationofmaine.com