Joann D. Eldridge, 81, of Wellfleet died on Jan. 26, 2021 of Merkel cell carcinoma.
She was born on Aug. 31, 1939 in Milford to Joe and Ethel Eldridge, and spent her early years in Worcester, until her parents moved to the Sagamore-Buzzard’s Bay area. Joann attended Bourne High School, graduating in 1957.
She often traveled with her father, a sport fisherman, up and down the East Coast. With his tutelage, Joann won first prize in a statewide fishing contest at age10, traveling to the State House to receive her award.
She graduated from Quinsigamond Community College in 1968 and from Worcester State College in 1970, and received an M.A. in English from Assumption College in 1972. She loved literature.
She spent 30 years at Doherty High School in Worcester, where she taught Advanced Placement English, coordinated drama shows, and was adviser to the literary magazine. Several former students who stayed in touch have noted her influence in their lives. She also taught part-time at colleges in the Worcester area, specializing in women in literature and writing skills.
While at Doherty High, Joann started the first computer lab in the English dept. Later, she orchestrated the donation of over 400 computers to the school, so that every department had its own computer lab. Well ahead of her time, she became an expert in the integration of curriculum and technology in the early 1990s.
After she retired, she was a technology consultant to the Worcester School Dept., where she created the position of legacy teacher. She also consulted with the Provincetown Schools, assisting teachers and administrators in the integration of curriculum and technology. In addition, she had a small business, Damn Good Sites, creating websites for various organizations.
Joann’s ability to reinvent herself continued, as she became a successful photographer and digital artist. She was an officer of Cape Cod Viewfinders, where she honed her skills and achieved the level of master photographer. She was also a member of the Cape Cod Art Center’s Digital Art Group. She entered many local, national, and international photography contests and won many awards.
She loved living on Cape Cod and Blackfish Creek, being close to the ocean and beautiful beaches, and enjoying spectacular sunsets. She also loved spending winters in Key West, Fla. Her many friends, acquired over the years, will miss her quick sense of humor.
She leaves her life partner of 38 years, Ruth Ostenson, and her beloved ragdoll kitty, Luna.
Donations in Joann’s name may be made to the Carrie A. Seaman Animal Shelter, 5 Sandy Hill Ln., Provincetown 02657; WCAI, Box 82, Woods Hole 02543; Helping our Women, 34 Conwell St., Provincetown 02657; or Wellfleet Preservation Hall, 335 Main St., Wellfleet 02667.
A memorial service to celebrate Joann’s life will be held at a date when Covid restrictions have eased.
To share a memory or leave a message of condolence, visit gatelyfuneralservice.com.