Features

Mirror writer Joan Alcala leaves us

... nurse to the sick and needy on two continents

from the SilverStringers



Editors' note: Joan was a treasure for the SilverStringers, bringing joy, laughter and consistency to our organization, just when we needed a shot in the arm. Several Stringers have asked if they could add something to the obit -- provided by the family -- and so we have added their comments at the bottom. We shall miss this beautiful person.)

Mrs. Joan A. (Clasby) Alcala, a longtime resident of Melrose, passed away peacefully with her family by her side on Sunday evening, September 15, at home.

Joan was born on March 22, 1943, in Queens, New York, one of eight children of the late Edward J. Clasby and Irene Morris Clasby. Her childhood began in Queens before moving to Milton where she graduated from Milton High School. She graduated from Newton College of the Sacred Heart in Chestnut Hill with a degree in psychology. She then attended the Quincy Hospital School of Nursing and began working as registered nurse.

In 1975 with a desire to help people less fortunate and a keen sense of adventure, Joan traveled to Lima, Peru. She located a parish program in a developing urban area where she could use her nursing abilities to make a difference. She worked in this poverty stricken community providing nursing care to people of all ages. She loved it there and immersed herself in the culture.
She learned some Spanish, travelled in South America, and was known to all the young children in the neighborhood. While at a bus stop after moving to Peru, she met her future husband, Francisco, who had just expressed some concern about her safety in the area. They became friends and after another trip back to Peru in 1980, they married.

Joan had a positive personality and was enthusiastic about everything in life. She was modest, devoted to her family, and to God. She lived her faith every day and treated others with this devotion in mind. She was a parishioner of Most Blessed Sacrament Church where she was also a Eucharistic Minister.

After returning home and settling in Melrose with her family, she began working at area hospitals and as a visiting nurse. She continued her work in helping people in urban areas by teaching young mothers best lactation practices as a consultant for Melrose-Wakefield Hospital. With a lifelong love of children, she also worked as a nurse for Melrose elementary schools.

Joan's devotion to helping others also extended to her family as she was a devoted mother and caring wife. She was always present and supporting her son, Daniel at his basketball or soccer games. She loved all family activities and especially enjoyed going to the beach.

Joan loved the outdoors, enjoyed gardening, and had an appreciation for nature and animals. She enjoyed learning new things, and recently had started making sweaters and blankets using Swedish and Peruvian weaving techniques.

Joan was the beloved wife of Francisco M. Alcala with whom she shared nearly 32 years of marriage. Loving mother of Daniel M. Ocala of New York City. Devoted sister of Arthur Clasby of Milton, Anne Clasby of Peabody, Dorothy Clasby-Demeke of Milton, Irene Clasby of Nashua, NH, Helen Clasby of Boston, and the late John Clasby, and David Clasby. Also survived by many nieces and nephews.

Relatives and friends honored and remembered Joan's life by gathering at visiting hours at the Robinson Funeral Home in Melrose on Wednesday, Sept. 18, and again on Thursday morning before leaving in procession to the Most Blessed Sacrament Church, Wakefield, where her funeral mass was celebrated. Interment in Holyhood Cemetery in Brookline.


October 4, 2013


Note from a Stringer: I worked closely with Joan on the story of the Universalist church conversion to apartments; it was a fun chore, a good story, and a happy time. I miss her laughter, her good being, herself.  Don Norris.

Yes, Joan will be missed by the Stringers. Dr. Ed Boyd.

In May 2009 Joan wrote a story about Deering Lumber Company. They loaned her a book with many many old photos in it. At our meetings she would tell us about some of the photos and how they related to the lumber company over the years. She educated us with tidbits relating to the photos, we could tell she was going to write a good story.  I'll miss her warm smile. fs

Joan lit up the room with her smile. She was always so happy and excited about the articles she was writing and the people she was interviewing. She was delighted when the Senior Center started a Swedish weaving class and was so thrilled when her friend asked her to be her maid-of-honor at her wedding. The meetings have not been the same and we miss her.  Kay McCarte


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