Joan Kelsey Abrams
1941-Nov. 19, 2013
Beloved wife, mother and sister, Joan (Kelsey) Abrams passed away Nov. 19, 2013.
Joan was born in 1941 in Waterbury, Conn., to James and Dorothy Kelsey.
Joan graduated from Crosby High School in Waterbury in 1959. She earned a full scholarship to the University of Connecticut’s School of Nursing and graduated with a BS in Nursing in 1963.
Joan worked as a public health nurse in Connecticut before moving to Denver, Colo. She was a pioneer in the field of nursing, being one of the first to earn a degree as a pediatric nurse practitioner (PRN) at the University of Colorado.
While visiting Durango, Colo., Joan met her future husband Boyd E. “Bud” Abrams. They married in Denver in 1967. Joan and Bud settled in Anchorage, Alaska, where they raised their two daughters, Jennifer and Jill. Joan worked as a pediatric nurse practitioner at LaTouche Pediatrics, where she was fondly called “Doctor Joan,” in a career she excelled at and loved.
It was in 1979 that Joan and her family started spending summers in Brookings, building their home on the Chetco River. In 1986, when her husband Bud began working internationally, the couple didn’t hesitate to settle in Brookings full time. Joan continued her nursing career, working at Curry Good Samaritan Center; as always, taking care of others.
Joan loved living on the Oregon Coast, picnicking, swimming and rafting on the river or building sand castles with her girls at the beach. On most days one could find Joan beachcombing, watching for whales and walking her pug “Homer.” Joan could often be found with friends down at her favorite coffee shop or on the patio at “Gypsies” discussing politics, philosophy, community news or just swapping life stories.
Joan was instrumental in starting the local chapter of The Red Hats and later became their queen, escalating their membership to more than 100, making it necessary to split the chapter into two. The Red Hats remain today as a successful organization, bringing women older than 50 together for fun and fellowship while donating their time and talents to many civic causes.
Joan was proud of her heritage and her membership in Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).
Joan will be remembered as having a giving heart; as a loving mother, sister, and wife. She graced all those in her life with her authentic spirit. She believed in living life with a positive attitude and possessed a quiet strength that drew others to her. Joan will be missed beyond measure by her daughters, family and friends.
She is survived by her daughters Jennifer L. Abrams of Portland, Jill A. Abrams of Anchorage, Alaska; sister Judith Kelsey Lewis of Woodbury; nephew Marine Sgt. Andrew K. Lewis of Duarte, Calif. Also surviving are several grandnieces and grandnephews.
She was preceded in death by Bud, her husband of 39 years.
A celebration of life will take place in March.
Submitted by the family.