In 1948, a young woman, Joan Lee Kennedy, dressed to the nines (and if she was here today, she would describe her outfit perfectly down to her shoes), met a handsome, St. Ray’s football player, Gil Rocha, and in her words, “Her life began that day” – and what a wonderful life it was.
Joan, a resident of Barrington, Rhode Island and Falmouth, Mass., and the beloved wife of the late Honorable G.T. Rocha, passed away peacefully on February 23, 2019 after a brief illness. Her family, as always, was at her side. Born in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, Joan was the daughter of the late James and Maybelle Kennedy. She and Gil were the proud parents of Pat Rocha and Bob Rocha, and warmly welcomed their spouses, Jim Lerner and Tracy Rocha, to the family. Joan was the best Nana to John and his wife, Meggie Hickey, Chris and his fiancée, Megan Flaherty, Matt Lerner and his puppy Griffey, and Derek Rocha and his partner, Jennifer Glickman. She was the sister of Honey O’Leary and sister-in-law to Evelyn Edge, Joan Daft, Thelma Rocha, Diane Kennedy and the late Marie Moran. She had many nieces, nephews and cousins and innumerable friends.
Joan attended public schools in Pawtucket and was a proud graduate of the Memorial Hospital School of Nursing where she worked in the Emergency Department and later worked in the Public Relations/Fundraising Department. She was a member of the Jolly Nine, the Rumford Junior League, and an incorporator and member of the Corporate Board of Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island. Joan was a huge BC football fan, first watching Gil play and then jointly cheering on the teams. Her sports enthusiasm continued as she cheered on her grandsons on baseball and soccer fields and hockey rinks. Although making a reservation was her favorite culinary dish, she always put on a great St. Patrick’s Day dinner for her grandsons and every Christmas had a fun, themed celebration and introduced her grandsons to all things Falmouth – the Clam Shack, beach, bike path and lobster bakes.
Joan’s greatest legacy is her love and commitment to family, first and foremost. She will be remembered for her style, generous spirit, family enthusiasm, grace and great faith – a faith that has assured Joan a heavenly reward and reunion with her beloved Gil.
Joan’s funeral will be held on Monday, February 25, 2019 at 8:30 AM from the PERRY-MCSTAY FUNERAL HOME, 2555 Pawtucket Avenue, East Providence with a Mass of Christian Burial at 10:00 AM in Saint Margaret’s Church, Pawtucket Avenue, Rumford. Burial will be in Gate of Heaven Cemetery. Calling hours respectfully omitted.
In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Joan may be made to The Honorable G.T. Rocha ’57 Memorial Boston College Law School Scholarship Fund, 885 Centre Street, Newton, MA 02459-1163.