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Joan A. Bassford

October 8, 2012 12:10 am

Joan A. Bassford

Joan Armutis Bassford, 97, died Friday, Oct. 5, 2012, at Falls Run Nursing and Rehab Center in Stafford County.

Joan was born Dec. 26, 1914, in New Haven, Conn. She moved to New York City with her two children following her divorce in 1943. Her strong belief in continuing education led her to study philosophy part time at Fordham University for the next five years while raising her two children. She then settled in West Hartford, Conn., where, in addition to her family responsibilities, she pursued a full-time career working at Travelers Insurance Co. She completed her Bachelor of Arts degree and graduated with honors from the University of Connecticut on June 11, 1961.

Joan then got her dream job as a social worker for the state of Connecticut, where she eventually established a successful child therapy program. She was awarded a scholarship with full pay in 1969 to study at the University of Connecticut School of Social Work. She received her Master of Social Work degree on June 5, 1972.

Joan was director of Child Protective Services in Waterbury, Conn., for the remaining years of her employment with the state of Connecticut. She retired from the state in 1976, but continued to work as a psychotherapist for several years. During that period she also found time to earn a second master's degree from Central Connecticut State University in 1976. She was also a pioneer in establishing Central Connecticut State University's first Elderhostel program. Joan was a liberated woman before the term became popular, and in her quiet way, was part of the women's movement that paved the way for those of us who came after.

Joan spent the following 25 years following another dream--she traveled to England, Spain, France, Germany, Africa on safari, Morocco, Egypt, San Salvador, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, India, Russia before the wall came down, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Denmark, the Far East, Canada and, of course, the U.S.

The last 11 years of Joan's life were spent at Lake of the Woods in Locust Grove. She was seriously involved with mah-jongg, which she played every Friday with a great group of friends. She also participated in a bridge group and shared her ancient, as she called herself, perspectives with the Lake of the Woods book club. She was also an opera aficionado. Most importantly, she was a loving and caring mother and grandmother.

She will be missed by her daughter, Jeddy Bassford-Riendeau (Joe Riendeau); her son, Hank Bassford (Ceci Bassford); and her grandchildren, JB, Lizzy, Maya, Nicki and Alec.

Joan Armutis Bassford was an amazing woman who made a difference in all the lives she touched.

A visitation and rosary will be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 9, at Johnson Funeral Home, Locust Grove. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 10, at St. Patrick's Catholic Church, Fredericksburg. Interment will be private. A reception will be held at her son's home, after the service.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions be made to Salesian Missions, 2 Lefevre Lane, New Rochelle, N.Y. 10801; or to Boys Town, 200 Flanagan Blvd., Boys Town, Neb. 68010.

An online guest book and obituary are available at

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