Joan C. Leblanc died on Aug. 16, 2022 at Cape Cod Hospital. The cause of death, confirmed by her son, Alex, was complications from COPD. She was 84.
The daughter of the late Ernest (Nappy) Leblanc and Elvina (Nook) Pecquet, Joan was born on Dec. 20, 1937 in Baton Rouge, La. She grew up in Sunrise, La. and often reminisced about her life there.
She recalled fondly the chickens her grandmother raised and vividly remembered outdoor childhood play. She recounted trips the family would take to Grand Isle and picnics her grandmother would fix on the levee. Her high school friends knew her as “Jungle” after the movie Tarzan came out: she was known for her jungle call.
After graduating from Lafayette College, Joan taught at Port Allen High School. She later earned a master’s degree in special education from Lesley College in Cambridge.
She married Francis P. Hammatt on May 21, 1960. They had a son, Alex, and eventually settled in Brewster.
Although Joan was living a conventional life, there was nothing conventional about her.
She loved science and nature and devoted her life to teaching. But her true passion was helping children with special needs. There were no boundaries when it came to the compassion she felt for people less fortunate.
She worked with the Special Olympics organization, volunteered to help young single mothers further their education, and was assistant director at the Latham Center in Brewster, serving children and adults with intellectual disabilities and complex special needs.
She loved Cape Cod, where she spent the better part of her life and where, after she and Francis divorced, she married Jeanne Brossart, a pioneer in the fight for LGBTQ equality in public health nursing.
Surf casting off Nauset Beach was a favorite activity, as were picking blueberries and canoeing the Pamet River in Truro. She also loved photographing the natural beauty of the Cape.
Provincetown, where Joan and Jeanne lived for many years, held a special place in her heart. She loved the atmosphere and people. When she was older and confined to a wheelchair, four strong men would carry her, wheelchair and all, out onto the beach. Only in Provincetown had she experienced such spontaneous expressions of love from the community.
Determined not to let things get in her way of living life, she also managed on her own, getting herself downtown, or venturing out on Art’s Dune Tours, or going to the Mews for an evening of music.
Joan is greatly missed by all those she left behind. She touched many people’s lives.
She is survived by her son, Alex, and daughter-in-law, Lynne Hammatt, of Harwich. Joan was predeceased her sister, Phillipa; her husband, Francis P. Hammatt; and her wife, Jeanne Brossart.
A memorial service with family is planned for the fall in Louisiana.
For online condolences, visit nickersonfunerals.com.