Of Saugus, Ms. Joanne L. (Gaff) Wheeler, age 85, died at the North Shore Medical Center in Salem on Tuesday, October 29th.
Born in Malden, Joanne was the daughter of the late Henry and Louise (Lafayette) Gaff. She had worked as a kindergarten teacher at Our Lady of the Assumption in Chelsea.
Joanne was a wearer of many hats. Mother, sister, aunt, friend, Kindergarten teacher, seamstress, Eucharistic minister, top selling Avon lady, director, but her true calling in life was realized the day she became a grandmother. From that day forward she became Grandma Joanne to any and all who knew her. Her grandchildren were her world.
She instilled a love for Music, theater and the arts in general into her family. She was a member of the Chelsea Community theater and the Theatre Company of Saugus for many years. Joanne always had a song to sing for every occasion. She may not know all the words but she would sing it anyway. She loved to add her own harmonies as she sang. This is how she lived her life, adding her own special harmony everywhere she went.
Where there was an opportunity to be helpful or volunteer Joanne was there. Whether it be at school, dance recitals, concerts, the theatre, library book fairs, church etc Joanne would be there to support and help out in whatever ways she could.
Joanne was notorious for corny jokes and sayings, but sometimes she came out with some profound ones. Her most profound was the motto she lived her life by: aging is inevitable but you never have to grow old
Mrs. Wheeler is survived by her daughter, Joanne M. Fafard; four grandchildren, Amanda Allen, Nola Paton, Alexis Fafard, and William Fafard, Jr.; three brothers John, Robert and Gilbert Gaff. She is also survived by many nieces, nephews and those who fondly called her “Gram”. She was predeceased by three brothers, Edward, Sonny and Larry Gaff; and two sisters, Louise Kelley and Louanne Eccleston.
In lieu of flowers donations in Joanne's name can be made to the Theatre Company of Saugus P.O. Box 1058 Saugus, Ma 01906 Or Saugus High School Drama Club c/o Michael Hashem Principal Saugus High School One Pearce Memorial Drive Saugus, MA 01906
Relatives and friends are invited to attend visiting hours in the Bisbee-Porcella Funeral Home, 549 Lincoln Ave., SAUGUS on Tuesday from 4-8 p.m. Funeral from the funeral home on Wednesday at 9 a.m. followed by a funeral mass in Blessed Sacrament Church, 14 Summer St., Saugus at 10 a.m. Interment Riverside Cemetery, Saugus.
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