Joan Gentry Patadal Demonstrated Courage Throughout Her Life
A chilly morning on January 22, 2021, Joan died peacefully in the arms of her beloved daughter, Beatrice Patadal Pattarroyo. After the last 40 years, Joan bravely faced multiple catastrophic illnesses with humor, intelligence, understanding, courage and a positive will to live.
In 1950, Joan was born to James and Beatrice Vanderhoop Gentry on the Island, Joan was the baby of the family. As a child, Joan's father was in the Air Force and was stationed at Stewart Air Force Base, New York, and Germany where he retired with the family moving to Oklahoma in the winter and Martha's Vineyard Island in the summer. During the winter in Oklahoma Joan had piano lessons and her teacher recognized her talents in playing the piano. Her teacher entered Joan in the States Championship and Joan won second in the state.
During the summer for a number of years Joan's parents managed the Jose Giles Gift Shop in Edgartown. To expand their businesses, Bertha Giles offered her sister Bea a partnership in the store in Oak Bluffs, Indian and Mexican Crafts, where Joan grew up working until she had an opportunity to work at Sears year round. Joan graduated from High school on the Island and was the Valedictorian of her class. During the summer after graduation, she attended a concert by Up With People and auditioned to join the group. While living on the Island Joan taught herself to play the guitar. She had a beautiful voice but she decided to go to college.
Meanwhile Joan decided to work first at a corporation in Boston and then as an administrative assistant at Massachusetts General Hospital. Since one of her younger cousins was going to school in Utah, Joan was talked into attending school in support of her cousin. After a couple of years in school, Joan moved home and worked with seventeen other Aquinnah Wampanoags who attended a Tribal ceremony pledging to work for Tribal federal recognition. Joan was selected as the First Tribal Administrator and wrote the first funded federal and state grants.
While working she met, married, and moved to Oklahoma. During her marriage she had her daughter Beatrice who was the sunshine of her life. After leaving her husband, she decided to go back to school to complete her degree. Immediately after completing her degree, she had an offer from Boston Indian Council to be the Assistant Finance Officer and then Finance Officer during her employment she was diagnosed with a progressive disease and Joan felt that her daughter would have a better life growing up on the Vineyard than in Boston. At her going away party, her boss said that besides Wilma Mankiller, Principal Chief of Cherokee Nation, Joan was the only person she knew who could pick up the phone and raise money for the Center.
At first she managed her parents store and then she owned the business. Joan enjoyed working in the store and loved the people in Oak Bluffs. She carved out a life that was happy for both her and her daughter. Apparently the medical community felt like she had a good handle on her progressive disease. They would call and ask her to meet with people who were recently diagnosed with her progressive disease. After her father died, she and her mother cared for each other. They were surrounded by their extended family who helped them whenever they were needed. Many thanks to Berta Welch, David Giles, Carla Cuch, Adriana Ignacio, Amera Ignacio, Ona Ignacio and her sons Riley and Skyler who lived on the Island. Joans relatives who visited when they came home. They were Barbara and Melvin Colby, Cynia and Thea Akins, Bobby and Beverly Macdiarmid, Jan and Steven Held, and Douglas and Linda Vanderhoop. In addition to her family, she received assistance from the Tribe, Ryan Malonson,Sarah Saltanstall, Angie Madison, Tnisha Chandler, Yvonne Michleson, Christain Brown, Eleanor Hebert, Amika Datta, Brett Stearn, Trudy Vanderhoop, Michael Siletti and Pam Melrose to name a few of the people who work for the Tribe. Also the Vineyard Nursing Association all the Nurses, Physical Therapist, the Speech Therapist, the Social Workers, and the Home Health Aides who provided excellent care for Joan. In addition, the Howes House and the Health program in Oak Bluffs provided needed technical assistance. All the nurses and doctors at the hospital who provided the medical assistance Joan needed, and the Ambulance service who came to the house and brought her to the hospital. They were wonderful in that time of emergency. Plus the Town of Aquinnah and the Police Department who came in the middle of the night to rescue Joan; and the retired Town Clerk, Carolyn Weiner. We have learned that it really does take a village to assist the family in caring for a loved one. Joan was fortunate to have a loving family and a community who had the knowledge and skills and the heart to help with the care of Joan.
Perhaps her daughter provided the most needed assistance by receiving a Bachelor's degree in Nursing and cared for her mother the last three years of her life. Bea and her husband and children provided the love and care that Joan needed. Joan loved and cherished her grandchildren and was thankful for all the help that her son-in-law provided. The other vital person in Joan's life was her best friend Marguerite Cook who for years would talk to Joan day or night to support her efforts to live.
Joan is survived by her daughter Beatrice and her husband Fabian Pattarroyo and their three children Killion, Khloe and Maria of Del City, Oklahoma; her sister, Barbara Gentry of Aquinnah; her late brother Russell Gentry of Waterbury, CT and his daughters, Adrian Gentry and Anya Nicole Gentry and his grand daughter Aydan all from New London, ConnectIcut; her extended family is Melvin and Barbara Colby of Cranston, Rhode Island; Cynthia and Thea Aikens of Ft. Duchesne, Utah; Bobby and Beverly Macdiarmid of Wheeling, West Virginia; Douglas and Linda Vanderhoop of White Rocks, Utah; Jan and Steven Held of Millers, Maryland; Adriana and Bruce Ignacio of Aquinnah; Carla Cuch of Aquinnah, David and Alicia Giles of Aquinnah; Berta and Vernon Welch of Aquinnah; Lewis Colby of West Tisbury; Brooke and Denis McKillop of Washington; Leslie and Rich Begert of Washington; Debra and Kendell Russell of Washington.
Because of the limitations we are living under at this time, her services are private.