Joan Dickey Shanahan, passed away on June 15, 2020, leaving her family and many circles of close friends with memories of her indomitable spirit, quick wit and a long life filled with creativity, sport and business ventures.
She was born on June 10, 1933, in Pittsburgh to Katharine Humphreys Dickey and Paul Browning Dickey. She attended The Ellis School, The Ethel Walker School and graduated from Bennett Junior College, where she expressed her great love of singing as a member of the Bennett Novelettes. She married Barry Noel Shanahan in 1956, and lived in Fox Chapel for 50 years before moving to Longwood at Oakmont in 2011. She was a member of the Fox Chapel Golf Club and the Hyannisport Club.
Not practiced in the art of sitting still, defined by relentless energy and drive, she founded a successful clothing line (Chi Chi), won many floral-arranging awards, opened a retail gift shop (The Nuthatch), took up and mastered calligraphy, silk screening, painting, lithography, needle point, decoupage, paper cache and more. Gardening also captured her imagination. You'd never find her in front of a TV. She'd be out in the yard growing her peonies, planting tomatoes or weeding with a vengeance...with her kids "enjoying" a command performance to work alongside.
Though a life-long Pittsburgh, Hyannis Port, Massachusetts and Palm Beach, Florida both held a special place in her heart. Eventually painting became a full time career, leaving a legacy of art that reflected her deep connectivity with Cape Cod. She placed great value on her many close friendships - and loved to entertain. She loved tennis and golf, both being equal parts social and athletic, combining two of her favorite things. She also loved to swim. In Hyannis Port, she was known for her back stroke, taking a dip every day in the Nantucket Sound, almost without fail. She was an ace Bridge player and an avid reader. Her book clubs played a significant part in her story filled life. As a self-admitted chocoholic, and huge fan of Fritos, family and friends always knew where to find her stash in the kitchen.
Though she suffered from Parkinson's for over 20 years, she fought it until the end and never let it get the best of her. Right up to her last day, she insisted on taking long walks, always greeting friends and neighbors with her signature smile and wry sense of humor.
Joan leaves behind a close-knit family of three children: Barry Noel Shanahan, Katharine Shanahan Holmes, Denise Dickey Shanahan, as well as seven loving grandchildren. she is also survived by her older brother, and only sibling, Paul Browning Dickey, Jr. of Palm Beach, Florida.
She touched so many people's lives, always told it like it was, and remains an inspiration in various ways to all.
Although there are no services presently scheduled, her family plans to gather with friends to celebrate her life at a future date. The family requests that any donations in her memory be made to: Union Chapel Association, P.O. Box 491, Hyannis Port, Massachusetts 02647 or The Parkinson's Foundation, 1359 Broadway, Set 1509, New York, NY 10018, www.parkinson.org
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