Joan McGrath Harding Butterworth
Joan McGrath Harding Butterworth passed away on Monday, October 3, 2022, and was a sweet, pillar of strength to the end. She was born on November 29, 1934, in Baltimore, Maryland. Joan and her family moved to Williamsburg, VA in early 1971, and she resided in Newport News from 1981 until her death. She was predeceased by her sister Patricia, her wonderful second husband, Carey Langdon Butterworth, her sister Laura Suzanne, her father, James A. McGrath, her mother Laura Dunn McGrath, and her first child and beloved son, Allan David Harding, Jr.
Joan lived a life of creativity, beauty, and teaching… which became her career for 25-plus years; after retiring from Newport News Public Schools, she also taught English as a second language. She attended Baltimore Junior College, Towson State University, and the College of William and Mary. She loved her students both in Baltimore and Newport News. But mostly, she adored being a mother. She was the mother to Joallyn “Jo Louise” Harding (Jeff Madden) of Newport News; Kevin Harding (Queite de Paula), and Tim Harding all of Richmond, VA. She was also very close to her nieces, Laura & Annie Wolf, and Annie’s son, Grant, all of Sparks, MD; and several cousins.
Joan loved Ikebana, arranging flowers in all sorts of beautiful vases and containers, as well as drawing and painting. She was always captivated by Asian art and furniture, and in 2007 was able to realize a lifelong dream of traveling to China. She was particularly proud of her Irish heritage and visited the British Isles and Ireland as well as many other parts of the world, and loved every journey. She enjoyed cooking, especially for her family; she was a lifelong Episcopalian; and spent hours doing needlework. And she adored chocolate and cookies! Joan loved her family most of all and remained in touch over the years with many friends from her childhood. She always enjoyed having pets – dogs and cats—and was surrounded by the company of her daughter’s cats, Max and MayBelle until the end…along with her constant companion of the last year, her cherished stuffed animal, Peter Rabbit.
To honor Joan, please make donations to two of her favorite charities over many years: the St. Joseph’s Indian School and Sentara Hospice Services, which provided excellent, loving care to Joan for the last eight weeks of her life.
Arrangements are under the care of Peninsula Funeral Home, 11144 Warwick Blvd., Newport News, VA 23601.