Joan Eileen Mason died peacefully at Papworth Hospital, in Cambridgeshire, on Thursday 19th July 2012, aged (just) 85 years. She had been battling a worsening heart condition for some years, and had been admitted to Papworth for bypass surgery. Unfortunately her frail body was not strong enough to cope with the procedures, and she was sadly taken from us, albeit, probably, to a better place.
She was born in 1927, the same year that Lindberg made his first solo flight of the Atlantic, and the first ‘talkie’ movie The Jazz Singer starring Al Jolson was released. Early life in Novello Street, Parsons Green was tough in the years between the wars, although Joan and her siblings were well cared for by hard-working parents.
The war came and Joan met her beloved Harry in a public house in Fulham during his leave from the Army, where he served as a nurse in the Far East. They eventually married in 1946, following his return after the war, and like many people they were initially blighted by ‘rationing’. However, they did the best they could, and shortly moved to Paddington. Following this move, their first child James arrived, followed later by Heather, and finally by Shirley. The family moved out to the suburbs of Roehampton in 1959/’60, and after James and Heather flew the nest Joan, Harry, and Shirley moved to Huntingfield Road, Putney.
Shirley married in 1978 and moved away and later, by now retired Joan and Harry moved over to the Isle of Wight, where the family had spent many happy holidays.
Whilst living on the Island Harry began to show the first signs of dementia – a condition which was to take him from us in 2005 – and the
couple moved back to the mainland, settling initially in Long Sutton, where they spent some happy times. However Harry’s condition worsened and Joan became his nursemaid and carer until he died in her arms on Firework Night 2005.
Joan moved to her final home in Millfield Court, Huntingdon to be nearer her daughter Shirley, who performed the usual ‘daughter duties’ (shopper/ taxi/ confidant/ housekeeping assistant etc.) without complaint, until last Thursday.
Before she passed we were lucky enough to be able to show pictures of her 4th great grandchild Millie. This seemed to cheer her.
A celebration of the life of Joan Mason took place at Cambridge Crematorium (East Chapel) on Monday 30th July at 10.45am, with drinks afterwards at the Hemingford Golf Centre.
Instead of the usual flowers, we would like donations to Papworth Hospital Trust, and these may be sent via Andrew at Kingfisher Independent Funeral Services, Gate Lodge, Cemetery Road, St Neots, PE19 2BX. Tel (01480) 471001. For details of how to donate online please click here.