An Obituary: Joan Eloise Kinney

January 19, 2024

Former Bedford High School teacher Joan Eloise Kinney died peacefully on Jan. 13, 2024 at the age of 94 in Middlebury, VT. She is survived by her sister Dotty Kay Reese and children Crispin, Patrick, William, and Donna, as well as 10 grandchildren, and 10 great grandchildren.

Joan was born in 1929 in Lamar, CO to Herschel and Leona Lott. After graduating from La Junta High School, she attended the University of Colorado, where she was a member of Tri Delta sorority and earned her B.A. in English.

She married her childhood sweetheart, Donald, beginning their marriage in Tacoma, WA where he was in flight training for the U.S. Air Force. They traveled throughout their marriage, living in Tucson, AZ; Morocco; Clovis, NM; Boulder, CO; Albuquerque, NM; Bedford; Annapolis, MD; and Ripton, VT.

While setting up beautiful homes everywhere she lived, Joan earned her teaching and master’s degrees and taught English at Bedford High School for 20 years, where she developed and implemented ground-breaking curriculum, including an inter-disciplinary Humanities course. She was the organist and Choir Director at St. Paul’s Church in Bedford and “Friend of the Year” of the Maryland Federation of the Arts and an active participant in Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis.

She and Donald lived in their Robert Frost farmhouse in Ripton, VT until his death in 2016, at which time she moved to the Residence at Otter Creek in Middlebury, where she made many new and cherished friends. Besides playing bridge and remaining active with PEO, she enjoyed attending services at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church.

Joan shared her passion for music and literature with her family, inspiring them to become musicians, artists, writers, and lovers or culture and travel. She was an avid Red Sox fan, who proudly wore her Mookie Betts jersey while tuned into NESN.

Joan Eloise Kinney

Her hands were always busy, sewing colorful quilts and knitting prayer shawls for St. Stephen’s congregation members and hats and scarves that adorn the heads and necks of friends and family far and wide.

Her family thanks the many staff and caregivers at Porter Hospital and The Residence at Otter Creek for their loving support and care of Joan in her final years, as well as her dedicated caretaker, Eugene Warner, who has watched over Don and Joan and the Ripton house for the past 20 years.

There will be a memorial service for Joan at St. Stephen’s in Middlebury on April 13, and a Celebration of Life at the Residence that afternoon. Details will be posted on her memorial link at

In lieu of flowers, the family invites charitable donations to PEO in her honor. Send donations to: Lou McLaren, President Chapter H; 2700 Fuller Mountain Road; North Ferrisburgh, VT 05473.

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Susan Goldman Kaplan
January 20, 2024 10:47 am

She was such a sweet and kind teacher in Humanities class in my senior year of high school, 1975-76. My thoughts and prayers go out to her family and friends. May she rest in eternal peace.

January 19, 2024 6:37 pm

Mrs. Kinney Thank you for opening up my eyes to all the books you treated me to. Your patience was, well, forgiving. You waited for my paper, (even when I didn’t have one) and you gave me that look that I had it in me. Thank you. You are always with me. Love to your family.

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