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Joan Gunnison (Appleton) Stone
March 28, 1930 ~ January 8, 2024 (age 93) 93 Years Old
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Joan Appleton Stone March 28, 1930 - January 8, 2024 Joan Gunnison Appleton Stone, 93, died peacefully on Jan. 8 at home in Essex, CT, surrounded by her husband and children. Devoted to her four children, eleven grandchildren, and six great-children, Joan lived a long and full life. For seventy years, she and her husband, Charles B. Stone Jr., enjoyed a loving, enviable marriage. Born in New York City, Joan graduated from Emma Willard School and Wellesley College, where she majored in Psychology. As a Wellesley sophomore, Joan became famous when a LIFE magazine photographer stopped her on Fifth Avenue and asked permission to take her photograph for a “Beauty On Fifth Ave.” issue. When Joan wound up on LIFE’s Dec. 12, 1949 cover, she found herself grounded. She had failed to ask permission from the Wellesley College publicity department. Around this time, at a 1949 Harvard Business School dance, Joan on a blind date met her husband, who says “she was the very best thing that ever happened to me.” Joan was born in New York City, and grew up in nearby Scarsdale and White Plains during war time. Her father, Captain Oliver D. Appleton, was awarded the Bronze Star Medal, and landed on D-Day at Utah Beach. In Middletown, CT, where Joan raised her family, she volunteered with the District Nurse Association and embraced life in the Wesleyan University community. She and her husband helped found The Independent Day School in Middlefield, CT. Joan was a corporator of the Middlesex Memorial Hospital, and she served as president of the Middletown Literary Club, president of the Parent Board of The Independent Day School, and president of the Middletown Chapter of the Garden Club of America. She continued her education by auditing courses at Wesleyan University, and she and Chip opened their house near the campus to many gatherings of Wesleyan faculty members and students. The lively conversation of regular guests tracked the controversial issues of the day, while Joan cooked for a crowd with what seemed like the greatest of ease. Joan and Chip created another vibrant community of friends in Madison, CT. There they settled into a rustic cottage whose bedrooms soon overflowed with their children and friends. They urged everyone to “go outside and play” on the nearby MBC tennis courts, where Joan had earned the title of ladies doubles champion. Well into her 80s, Joan still swam in the Long Island Sound, and rode her bike into town for provisions. Essex, CT had always been on Joan and Chip’s radar. When it became time to leave their family home in Middletown, Essex Meadows Assisted Living Community became their new home. They embraced new friends, connected by old Wesleyan ties, and a new a cappella singing group Chip helped to create on the Essex Meadows campus, The Bokum Boys. Joan was the Bokum Boys’ number one fan. In addition to her husband, Joan leaves her children, Susan Moorhead (married to Stephen Moorhead), Sarah Maynard (and partner Reed Bergwall), Charles Stone (married to Diane Stone), and Jennifer Potter (married to Jeffrey Potter). She is also survived by all of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, contributions in her name may be made to the Essex Meadows Employee Appreciation Fund, 30 Bokum Road, Essex, CT 06426, or a charity of your choice. The family will hold a celebration of her life at Essex Meadows on Friday, May 10, 2024 at 2:30 PM. To share memories or send condolences to the family, please visit www.doolittlefuneralservice.com.