Joan “Joni” Marie Mitchell of Westhampton Beach died after a brief illness on June 10, surrounded by family. She was 83.
Ms. Mitchell was born Joan Wright on February 4, 1931, in Queens. She was the daughter of May Madigan, a hotel phone operator, and Charles Wright, a Grumman Aerospace riveter who made aircraft during World War II. She attended St. Sebastian’s School in Woodside and began a career as a keypunch operator at Grumman Aerospace. She first arrived in Westhampton Beach in 1954 to open a Gulf service station on Mill Road.
In 1962, Ms. Mitchell was introduced to her husband, Tom, the brother of her best friend, in an across-a-crowded-room, love-at-first-sight kind of moment. They were married a year later and had not been apart for more than a handful of days since. Their 51-year marriage was a love story filled with caring, laughter and devotion, survivors said.
Ms. Mitchell’s greatest contentment came from time with family and friends. An accomplished cook, she enjoyed hosting dinners and barbecues at her Westhampton Beach home, with the Fourth of July being her favorite. There was always room for one more at her table, and all were welcomed. She also inspired a group of local women who enjoyed dinner together at local restaurants every other week or so, celebrating special events and finding special moments to cherish.
In addition to her husband, Thomas, she is survived by a daughter, Tracey Auchincloss and husband Tom of Eagle Bridge; two sons, Thomas Mitchell and Scott Mitchell and fiancée Ann, all of Westhampton Beach; and a grandson, Shea Watson of Virginia. She was predeceased by two sisters, Alice Frederick and Eileen Manny.
The family received friends at Follett and Werner Funeral Home on June 12. A funeral Mass was held at Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church on June 13.