Joan Bernadette Collyer obituary photo
 
In Memory of

Joan Bernadette Collyer

December 26, 1933 - August 6, 2017

Obituary


Our loving mother, Joan Bernadette Collyer, passed on August 6, 2017 at the age of 83. She was born in Charlestown, Massachusetts to Italian and Irish immigrants, Philomena and Joseph Riley. Joan was one of five children.
She married Robert Collyer in 1957 and they raised three children, Maryann, Robert and Stephen. They moved to Cape Cod, Pocasset, from Dorchester in 1967 where she lived the rest of life.
Joan had an impact on people, if you met her you didn't forget her. Since her passing, family and friends have described her as ebullient,...

Our loving mother, Joan Bernadette Collyer, passed on August 6, 2017 at the age of 83. She was born in Charlestown, Massachusetts to Italian and Irish immigrants, Philomena and Joseph Riley. Joan was one of five children.
She married Robert Collyer in 1957 and they raised three children, Maryann, Robert and Stephen. They moved to Cape Cod, Pocasset, from Dorchester in 1967 where she lived the rest of life.
Joan had an impact on people, if you met her you didn't forget her. Since her passing, family and friends have described her as ebullient, wise cracking, smart, a dearest friend, funny, tough, an absolute spitfire, a force not to mess with and a woman with a heart of gold. Please allow us, her children, to share memories of our loving Mother.
People have asked us what she did for a living and she would be categorized as a stay at home Mom. But, by no means, was she a typical housewife. Our family never had a lot of money; yet, that was not a deterrent to our Mom. She loved beauty and always demanded her home be clean, well kept and up to her aesthetic standards. In order to make that happen in many cases it required she do the work herself - all 5 feet nothing and 100 lbs of her. So in between dropping us off at swim class, helping with homework, sewing, cleaning, cooking and sharing love, she found time to complete some major home & garden projects. Here a just a few examples:
- Single-handedly dug out our basement and built its walls in one summer!
- Sought out and pilfered rocks/boulders across Cape Cod then built several stone walls.
- Refurbished our kitchen, bathroom, deck, bedrooms almost exclusively by herself !
- Designed & erected several fences.
- Seeded(& sodded) lawns and cared for our yard meticulously until she physically couldn't.
In addition to her mad "Bob Villa" skills, she had an insatiable thirst for knowledge and was the consummate teacher... quizzing everyone she met on the state capitals, American history or any new tidbit she learned.
Oh and she was funny and direct... her friend and lawn care person, Tom Ward, shared a story of when he first met our mother. She explained to him how important to her lawn was in that "only three people can walk on it; 1) the Pope 2) Jesus and 3) him".
If you haven't gathered this yet, she was TOUGH, a true fighter. She suffered & overcame ten Congestive Heart failure episodes. The last five years of her life were filled with sickness, but her will and strength of mind pulled her through. Her doctors were amazed that she was able to come out of the last episode, sitting up and talking to us. In typical fashion she spent her last hours awake questioning the doctors credentials; telling her heart doctor's nurse that "he was always on vacation"; ensuring Robert was "standing up straight" and admonishing us "not to tell her what to do" .
Overwhelmingly, her greatest gift was her capacity to love. She would do anything for her children. As her children we always felt we could accomplish anything with our mother on our side. Her mantras were: "We'll figure this out together"; "Anything is achievable if you set your mind to it"; and "life is a series of choices, make the best of it". That's how she lived her life and the legacy she passed onto us.
We miss her enormously and our loss is overwhelming. We are grateful that her voice and love will live in our hearts forever. Thank You Mother.