Joan Farnsworth

SKOWHEGAN – Joan Farnsworth (Joan Beven Anderson) 86, of Skowhegan, died peacefully with loving family by her side on Dec. 16, 2022 in Sedona, Ariz.

She was born on July 31, 1936 in Gorham. Following her older brother David, Joan was the second of two children to Hayden LV Anderson and his wife Louise (Pickering Ransom). Joan’s father was a historian, author and life-long leader in education for the state of Maine and her mother was a public servant, church leader and aviation enthusiast. Joan’s home life growing up was full of creativity and warmth, with everything from the rich smells of homemade doughnuts and woodworking, to the worldly communications of her father on the HAM radio, and her mother winning awards for photography.

It was under this creative inspiration from her parents that Joan carved out a path of her own. Graduating top of her class as Valedictorian from Caribou High School, she went on to attend the University of Maine in Orono, graduating with a degree in English.

It was at the University where she met the love of her life, Robert Farnsworth. Throughout her life, Joan would always reflect on how lucky she was to have met and married the best husband! While Robert pursued his passion for education becoming a high school teacher, Joan decided to create a nature lover’s paradise on the property they purchased in Skowhegan, Maine over 60 years ago. Rustic, beautiful and filled with old growth trees, winding paths and a gentle brook, Joan set out to make the historic property a wonderland of gardens, flowers and fruit trees. Four daughters made the homestead complete.

Joan became very active in her local community and with her love of animals, she set out to find a way to build Skowhegan’s first humane society. With an unstoppable vision and eventual support from local philanthropist Peter Debe and other benefactors, this dream became a reality. The Somerset Humane Society which she founded still exists today on the Middle Road in Skowhegan.

Like her mother, Joan also had a life-long love of public service and politics. As the longest serving employee for the Town of Skowhegan, she served for almost 40 years as the Registrar of Voters, retiring in 2019. She was particularly proud that in all her 40 years of service, she never missed a single election. After her retirement, she continued her volunteer work at the Skowhegan History House.

But perhaps her greatest joys came from her spectacular flower gardens, and her expertise in tying flies and time with “Bob” fly fishing. She loved bird watching, making stained glass items she casually sold from her backyard business “The Wooden Expression”, playing bridge, baking delicious homemade breads and inspired meals, and having cherished conversations with family and friends. Many of these conversations were held sitting in the “Building”, which housed her creations and provided beautiful views of the yard and wildlife.

In her final year and as her health was failing, Joan mustered up the spirt of adventure to travel with her daughter Sarah to Sedona, Arizona where she enjoyed the Arizona sun and warmth under the care of an assisted living center just minutes from her daughter Jen and Jen’s husband Joe.

Joan will be deeply missed by friends and family members including daughter, Julie Brown and her children Emma and Emmas’ daughter Gwen, and Wyn and his wife Alex Schaffner of Massachusetts; daughter, Sarah Tracy and her partner Deane Tracy of Industry, and children Mitchell Snowman of Honolulu, Hawaii and Nathan Tracy of Old Town; daughter, Laura Mullen and her husband Bill and children Jake and Moz of Portal, Ariz., and daughter Jen Farnsworth and her husband Joe Zani of Sedona, Ariz.; her brother, David Anderson of Mattapoisett, Mass. and his wife Phoebe and other extended family members.

Joan is predeceased by her husband, Robert.

A celebration of life will follow at a later date to be announced. To leave a Memory of Joan, please visit:
For today, in celebration of Joan and her amazing flower gardens, family asks that you give a flower to someone you love or plant a flower in her memory.

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