Joan M. Toner, loving wife, mother and sister, adored nana, beloved aunt, devoted friend, and dedicated servant of God, passed peacefully to join the angels and stars in heaven on March 6th after a brief illness. Joanie’s deep faith, caring spirit and enormous sense of fun brought boundless comfort and unending joy to countless lives. She will be fondly remembered and sorely missed. Born in Queens New York to Josephine and Robert Heimerle, Joan is survived by brothers Bob and Marie Heimerle, and Bill and Pat Heimerle, and sister Kathryn Hampel. She was predeceased by her husband Jim, daughter Maureen, and son-in-law Michael Cook. Joan will be remembered with great love by her children Mary Ellen Cook, James Toner, Kathy Toner and Wendy Wheeler, Susan and Todd Hylton, Patricia Goudarzi, Thomas Toner and Marshall Pearson and her most beloved grandchildren Tim McFillin, Mary McFillin, and Zachary Cook. She will also be fondly remembered by her many nieces and nephews, an enormous circle of friends and the countless people whose lives she enriched with her humor, compassion and generosity. From an early age, Joan’s special relationship to Jesus and the Virgin Mother was evident; indeed it was at a Legion of Mary meeting where she met the highly eligible bachelor who became the great love of her life and her husband of 52 years. Jim and Joan shared a profound Catholic faith and a desire for a large family, and soon they were creating happy memories as they raised their seven children. As a mother, Joan never tired organizing special birthday parties, Easter basket hunts, amazing Christmas surprises, outings to the pool, special haircuts and 1-1 shopping outings, and chauffeuring her kids to an unending series of sporting and school events. With four little ones and one on the way, Joan and Jim moved to Endwell, finding the home base from which she would establish her most enduring friendships and a life-long service to her parish, Church of the Holy Family. Over the years Joan served as a lay minister, Parish Council member, gave solace to many through pastoral care, and provided support through the prayer network and regular vigils at the adoration chapel. Joan cherished the dear friends she made through this work and in particular loved her Sunday night prayer meetings and weekly Bible study groups. After raising her family, Joan combined her adventurous spirit and her religious faith through pilgrimages to the Holy Land, Rome, Medjugorje and California, where she visited the Franciscan missions. Whether visiting her sister in Florida or her daughter in Honduras, Joan exhibited unflagging curiosity and joie de vivre as a traveler. Being “Nana” was one of Joan’s greatest roles and joys! She loved finding special moments and gifts to share with Tim, Mary and Zach, whether celebrating Christmas at Nana’s or playing ping pong in her basement. “Aunt Joan” was a favored aunt among her many nieces and nephews. Especially in recent years, she delighted in summers on Long Island with her Heimerle boys and their parents, her brother Bill and sister-in-law Aunt Pat. She often laughed about her adventures with frozen drinks and golf carts with her sister Kathryn in Florida, and she never missed an opportunity to chat with her older brother Bob and his wife Marie. Joan’s abundant life could fill volumes. When it was her time to join God, Joan showed great courage, and with grace and dignity showed the way. She will continue to inspire her family and friends through her legacy. Her family would like to thank the incredibly caring professionals on the 5th floor of Wilson Hospital and the staff at Hospice, for making her few final days of illness peaceful. In lieu of flowers, Joan requested that friends and family make donations to their favorite charity, in her honor.
A Memorial Mass will be celebrated Tuesday 10:30 am at Church of the Holy Family, 3600 Phyllis Street, Endwell. The family will receive friends at the Allen Memorial Home, 511-513 East Main Street, Endicott, Monday from 4-7 pm.