Joan West Conlin

PORTLAND – Joan West Conlin, called “Westy” by her close friends and family, was known for her love, compassion, kindness and gentleness. Born in Bridgeport, Conn. on April 25, 1931, she lived a life expressing love for those around her and gave the gift of unconditional love through her amazing hugs.

Westy loved the ocean and enjoyed spending time walking, beach combing and looking for sea glass in Florida and Maine. She inspired this true passion for the ocean in all of her children and grandchildren, who loved spending time with her on the water. She enjoyed going to Ferry Beach in Maine with her dog Charlie and being outdoors in the sunshine. As a child, she loved climbing trees and playing outside. She famously made the Stratford, CT newspaper in 1939 when she fell out of a tree playing commandos and broke her arm.

A voracious reader who could devour several books a week, Westy also had a gentle competitive streak and loved to play cards and games with family and friends. As an avid artist, one of her greatest joys was painting and creative expression. She spent years studying painting, both watercolor and oil, and was especially inspired by water scenes. Westy passed this love for art to her children, Jay, James, and Aimée. During her time in Port Charlotte, Florida, she put her talents to work painting scene props for local theatrical plays.

Music made Westy’s heart sing. She was a devoted fan of her son James and followed his musical performances throughout southwest Florida. Westy was often seen joyfully moving on the dance floor with James’ wife, Ceres. In her most recent years when she was no longer mobile, her favorite songs still brought a smile to her face and sent her toes tapping, and she could be seen putting hands in the air for her favorite Cold Play song, “Viva La Vida.”

Her openness and sweet smile attracted many new friends wherever she went. Westy lived a life always expressing love for her family and friends. And, although she died on Jan. 26, Westy’s smile and love will live on in all who were touched by her heart, including her sons James West and Jay Conlin, daughter, Aimée Bessire, Ceres Austria (daughter-in-law), Mark Bessire (son-in-law), and granddaughters, Blakey and Clay Bessire, among so many others.

We are deeply thankful for the loving care she received at Avita of Stroudwater. She was surrounded by wonderful loving caregivers who saw her spark and beautiful essence. We also have the deepest gratitude for the love, support, wisdom, and guidance of all of the nurses and caregivers at Compassus Hospice.

Arrangements are in the care of Conroy-Tully Walker Funeral Home, 172 State Street, Portland, ME.To Jaon’s memorial page, or to share an online condolence, please visit