Joan Susi

SACO — Joan Dearborn Susi, 80, passed away on Sept. 24.

She was born in Biddeford, Maine, to Donald and Ruth (Milliken) Dearborn. She attended Biddeford schools, graduating as the class of 1959’s salutatorian, and graduated from UMO in 1963. After working for Senator Edmund Muskie in Washington, D.C., she returned to Maine to raise her family and find her true calling as an educator.

After teaching both high school and adult education, she became assistant director, and then director of Biddeford Adult and Community Education, which under her administration grew to be the largest such program in the state. The friendships she made in the adult education community lasted the rest of her life. After retiring, she wintered for several years in Florida, but returned to Maine to focus on being an amazing full-time grandmother. Joan was also very involved in harness racing, first as an owner and later as a state racing commissioner. She loved the Maine harness racing community and was never more alive than when at Scarborough Downs. Those who knew her will remember her boundless optimism, happiness and always-upbeat attitude. She had a wonderful gift for making people feel welcome and capable, which she used professionally to inspire staff and students, and throughout her life to the benefit of family, friends and strangers.

Joan passed away at her home in Saco, attended by family, friends, and two dogs that she fed from the dining table when she thought others weren’t watching. She is survived by: her son, Jason Chenard and his husband Glenn Williams of North Hampton, New Hampshire; her son, Jon Chenard and his wife Elizabeth of Saco; her grandsons, Brett and Matthew Chenard; her brother, Jere Dearborn; and her sister, Julia Dearborn. She was preceded in death by her sister, Janet Judge.

A memorial service and reception will be held at First Parish Congregational Church, UCC, 12 Beach St., Saco on Wednesday, Oct. 6 at 4 p.m. In lieu flowers, please consider a contribution to First Parish Congregational UCC, 12 Beach St., Saco, Maine 04072 or to other worthy charities.

Rev. Scott Cousineau of First Parish Congregational Church UCC of will officiate.

Dennett, Craig & Pate Funeral Home 365 Main St., Saco are entrusted with her services.

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