Joan Byrne, 94, a beautiful Irish soul, joined her husband Donal, grandson Kevin, parents Thomas and Bridget, brothers Geoff (Jeff) and Tommy, and sisters Mary (Paddy), Kitty (John), and Birdie (Joe) on March 31st, when she passed peacefully in her sleep. Joan called Ireland home and Glenanaar always held a special place in her heart, as did all family and friends in Mallow, County Cork, Ireland. Joan resided at 52 Rockbrook Lawn, Mallow, Co Cork, Ireland and at 6 Lynn Place, Pompton Plains, NJ. Joan spent the last seven years of her life living with Don, Geraldine, and family in Topsfield, Massachusetts, a community that embraced her with love and compassion.
Donal and Joan lived in Jersey City when they first arrived in this country from Ireland in 1958. Donal lived with his sister Nora and her husband Joe Baker until he set up a home for his arriving family which included Joan, Geraldine and Madeline after 18 months apart. Mom always commented that dad had the place spotless and furnished right down to the flowers on the kitchen table. Almost as soon as they arrived in Jersey City, Aunt Jane Roome started looking at houses for them near her home in Wayne, NJ. In 1965, Donal and Joan moved to Pompton Plains with Geraldine, Madeline, Patricia and Joseph, the youngest two born in Jersey City. The fifth child, Danny, was born in Pompton Plains.
Joan was predeceased by the love of her life, Donal (78) and her beloved grandson, Kevin Daniel (24). Donal and Joan’s proud legacy includes sons Joseph Thomas and Daniel Edward, and daughters, Geraldine Sheila Byrne Van Lenten, Madeline Mary Byrne, and Patricia Ann (Byrne) Billitz. Donal and Joan adored their two sons-in-law, Donald G. Van Lenten and Douglas B. Billitz and their niece, Brenda Baker (Mitch). Joan and Donal were blessed with eight grandchildren: Kaylee Fredrickson, Katie Kendrick, Kevin Van Lenten, Tighe Van Lenten, Ryan Byrne, Dylan Byrne, Aedan Byrne and Michael Scher. Joan lived to be introduced to her great grandson, Kevin Michael Kendrick.
Joan worked for many years as a home health aide, a position she held with pride and tenderness. She traveled to work (and everywhere else) on her bicycle. Joan was well known in Pompton Plains as the Irish woman who cycled around to all the shops and arrived home with her ‘messages’ in her bike basket. She was proud to call the village home and Donal and Joan had many great neighbors and friends from town, OLGC and PV Park.
Mom aged with grace and dignity, never once asking for nor complaining about anything. Mom’s hospice nurse Jill would arrive and ask mom how she was and mom would respond, each and every time: “not too bad”.
Mom/Nannie would want to be remembered as a woman of strong faith, proud Irish heritage, and her famous Irish soda bread. Now she and Pop-Pops are together once again.
There will be a visitation period from 4-8pm on Friday April 9 at the M. John Scanlan Funeral Home. There will be a Funeral Mass celebrated in Joan’s honor Saturday April 10, 2021 at 10AM at Our Lady of Good Counsel RC Church, Pompton Plains. Entombment will follow at Our Lady of Magnificat Church Cemetery in Kinnelon.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Patricia Billitz’s name to the National MS Society at: www.nationalmssociety.org