Joan (Jody) Kissner, 90, of Shelburne, formerly of Wilder and Hartland, Vermont, and Ashburnham, Massachusetts, died peacefully on April 17, 2020, following a long illness.
She was born Nov. 9, 1929, in Buffalo, New York, to Theodore and Helen (Fulmer) Graf. After receiving her Master of Library Science, Jody worked as a Brooklyn Public Library reference librarian. At a library cocktail party, she met her future spouse, Arthur Kissner, who headed another branch of the library. Jody and Arthur married in 1957, taking the first of their many international trips. In 1962 they moved to Massachusetts, and built a home in Ashburnham.
During this time, Jody held several library positions, including as a high school librarian in Lunenburg and Oakmont Regional High School, then settled in as the head of the Westminster Public Library. With both children off to college, Jody and Arthur built a new “Deck House” home, which they named “Telemark Gore” in Hartland, and started a part-time Bed & Breakfast business. In 2001, after losing Arthur to cancer, Jody moved to a condominium in Wilder. During her time in the Upper Valley, Jody staffed tourist information centers, volunteered at the Billings Farm, and worked on collaborative quilt projects with the White River Senior Center. In 2010, Jody moved to Wake Robin Continuing Care Community in Shelburne, Vermont, where she became an active member of the community, started a needle arts group, and prepared a weekly themed book collection at the entrance to the community center.
Throughout her life, Jody was an avid craftswoman, starting with sewing, knitting, crocheting, crewel work, needlepoint, rug hooking and later weaving and quilting. Her colorful quilts in a variety of styles displayed her high level of talent, and were exhibited in a variety of locations, including most recently at a Wake Robin display. Jody loved to travel, especially if it was on a train, taking many “ElderHostel” trips with her husband. During her college days, Jody worked each summer at Chautauqua Institution, a center in Western New York for cultural and intellectual engagement. Chautauqua was Jody’s heaven on earth; especially in later years, Jody made the long car trip yearly, always eager to bring someone along with whom she could share her passion for all the pleasures of Chautauqua. Throughout her life, Jody almost always had a cat. Each cat was a dear friend and a source of comfort. Jody loved classical music; it brought her great joy, from attending many concerts to being the background sound of each and every day.
Joan was predeceased by her husband, Arthur Kissner and her sister, Lois Jenkins. She is survived by her children: Jean Kissner of Stowe and Dave Kissner of East Montpelier, as well as her grandchildren, Max and Olga.
Jody’s family wishes to thank the wonderful staff at Wake Robin who provided such supportive and attentive care. They smoothed each transition and did a phenomenal job in the last months of her life.
A graveside service will be held at a later date. Contributions in her memory can be made to the Chautauqua Foundation, Chautauqua, NY, 14722.