Joan Clark (Selwyn) Arrigan 1934- 2020
Joan passed away peacefully at her Bright View home after 86 years of vibrant life.
Joan was predeceased by her beloved husband of 51 years, the late Robert F. Arrigan (former Chief Judge of the RI Workers Compensation Court) and by the tragic loss of their only son at 19, Robert P. Arrigan, her parents William and Florence Selwyn, and her brother Raymond Selwyn. She is survived by her brother and sister in law Fred and Fran Arrigan, several cherished nieces, nephews, cousins, God-children, and many dear friends both here in RI and Florida.
Joan was happily raised in the Smith Hill Section of Providence, attending Camden Avenue School with her lifelong friend Jeneve, then Nathaniel Greene, and graduated from Mount Pleasant in the class of 1952. She trained as a secretary, and Joan began work at City Hall, eventually becoming personal secretary to Mayors Walter Reynolds and Joseph Doorley. To this day many notes, reminders and recipes are written in shorthand.
Soon she became involved in local politics, chairing the Democratic State Committee. Joan met and married a young lawyer Bob and together they attended the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, and the Kennedy Inauguration.
Joan and Bob were always active in their local parish, and as young Bobby grew they became involved in their parish school, Saint Augustine, with Sister Issac. They traveled and cruised and enjoyed Bruins and Red Sox games, and trips to Maine and Spags. Summers were spent “at the beach” where Joan entertained their many friends with her clam cakes, both the Rocky Point and Markey Versions, and lobsters. Together, they enjoyed clamming and scalloping in Bobby’s Boston Whaler. Sailing lessons at URI introduced Bobby to competitive sailing that he later pursued at Georgetown. After his loss, the sailing clubs of both Georgetown and URI were a tremendous comfort to them and a lasting memorial to their beloved son.
The wonderful Sisters of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary at Fruit Hill and their world wide community of Franciscans enveloped both Bob and Joan as they traveled to Europe, Africa and Australia. Under the tutelage of Sister Joel Zarotiadou FMM, Joan began painting, creating many amazing landscapes and gardens paintings now treasured by family and friends.
Never losing their Faith, through dark hard times, Joan and Bob traveled to Rome and met with Pope John xxiii, a treasured memory. A mothers group also gave Joan comfort as they helped each other bear their terrible losses.
Joan and Bob found a “winter” home in Juno Beach, Florida. Joan soon became Social Director of the Manor, organizing snowflake breakfasts, Valentine’s, Saint Patrick's Day, and an amazing Mardi Gras. Joan also began a morning rosary group 911 in her condo, credited with many answered petitions and prayers.
Always a raconteur, Joan enjoyed people and stories, and had a wonderful sense of humor, and quick wit. In Becket family tradition, she had a penchant for “pithy puns.” This sociability carried her on in these later years as she struggled on alone without her Bobbys.
Our heartfelt appreciation to her many friends in Anawan and Florida, and to all the nurses and caregivers at Bright View and Hope Hospice for their loving care of Joan through these months of isolation.
Through many years Joan has supported so many causes and charities. She hopes that anyone who wishes to remember her, do so with some random act of kindness, their favorite cause or an act to love someone in need.
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