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Joan Margaret (O’Connell) Lepry, RN, 92, died peacefully Saturday, March 12, at Brentwood Nursing Home in Warwick, surrounded by her loving family. Joan was born in Portage, Wisconsin on August 9, 1929, to the late P. Roscoe (Roc) O’Connell and Margaret R. (Gibson) O’Connell, and was sister to the late Thomas E. O’Connell and Sarah J. (O’Connell) Schramm.
Growing up on a dairy farm, Joan was voted most popular and most talkative in the Wisconsin Dells High School class of 1947. Joan graduated from Saint Mary’s School of Nursing in Milwaukee in 1950. It was on a school break that she met Lou Lepry, a Rhode Islander from Notre Dame, at a chance party in the Wisconsin Dells.
After courtship and Lou’s service in the Korean War, they married in 1953 in Wisconsin, then moved to East Greenwich, where they lived for over 60 years until Lou’s passing. Joan’s six children were born at Kent Hospital, and after raising them at home, she continued to work as a nurse and volunteer at the hospital for many years. After retirement, Joan was a sales associate in the children’s department at JC Penney in Warwick, a job she cherished.
Joan’s quiet and gentle nature belied a midwestern practicality in all things related to her family, ensuring all had ‘had their lunches’ and were dressed for the weather. Joan’s unfailing matriarchy to the very end of her life was her greatest strength and pride and will endure in the hearts and minds of her family forever.
Joan was predeceased by husband, Louis A. Lepry, Sr., in 2018, and son, Louis A. Lepry, Jr., in 2017. Joan leaves her children: Mary M. Lepry of Hope, RI; Thomas C. Lepry of Denver, CO; Elizabeth A. Leach of Smithfield, RI; Susan J. Lepry of Homer, AL and South Kingstown, RI; and Julie A. Medeiros of South Kingstown, RI. Joan was the kind and caring mother-in-law to: Peggy (Barenberg) Lepry of Centennial, CO; Dr. Angela Anderson of Hope, RI; James J. Leach of Smithfield, RI; Dan Hesse of Star Valley, WI; and formerly, Don E. Medeiros of Cumberland, RI and Kathryn (Evans) Lepry of Denver, CO. Joan was beloved “Mungee” to her nine grandchildren: William C., Miles P., and Anna G. Lepry; Kate L. and Eva L. Lepry; Sarah E. and Patricia J. Leach; Zachary I. Lepry; and Carmen M. (Medeiros) Parent. Joan had recently become great-grandmother to Charles Z. Lepry, and Cora L. Parent, and spent the last hour of her life in the company of her brand-new great-granddaughter.
‘Aunt Joanie’ leaves many nieces, nephews and late sisters and brothers-in-law in both Rhode Island and Wisconsin, and many friends in the East Greenwich and Our Lady of Mercy Church communities. The family wishes to thank the devoted staffs at Brentwood Nursing Home and Brentwood by the Bay for their compassionate care.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Monday, March 21, at 10:00 AM at Our Lady of Mercy Church in East Greenwich. Burial will follow at the Rhode Island Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Exeter. Calling hours will be held prior to Mass on Monday, March 21, from 8:30 to 9:30 AM at Hill Funeral Home in East Greenwich.
You can leave an online condolence with the funeral home HERE.
Top photo by Gemma Evans, courtesy of Unsplash.