Joan Mary Torney

Joan Mary Torney of Milton passed away peacefully in her home of natural causes on April 30, 2020, at the age of 97.

Joan was born on March 6, 1923, in Chislehurst, Kent in England. Her parents were Eric and Eileen Williamson, and she had two siblings, her younger brother Robert Williamson and her older brother Dermott Williamson, all since deceased.

Joan grew up in Chislehurst outside of London. During World War II, she stood watch for the early days of The Blitz and had a bomb shelter in the garden of her home, but she was subsequently evacuated to live in Windermere in the South Lakeland District of Cumbria.

After earning a degree at the Froebel Institute, she became a grade school teacher. Seeking a change, she came to America in 1956, crossing the Atlantic by ship through Quebec City and then went by train on to Boston on a one-year exchange position to become a member of the Lower School faculty at Milton Academy. Following a year back at her home school in England, Joan returned to Milton Academy in the fall of 1958, where she remained as a member of the Lower School faculty teaching Grade 3 mathematics and science until her retirement in 1982.

In 1961, Joan was married to Johnston Torney, also a member of the Upper School faculty at Milton Academy, in her family home in Chislehurst. They came to live and work on the Milton Academy campus, where they both retired as members of the faculty and then remained in Milton.

They enjoyed annual travel to England and to Owl’s Head, Maine, to visit family, to their house in Man-O-War Key in the Bahamas every spring, and subsequently trips to California and New Hampshire to be with children and grandchildren; and in 1975-1976, they enjoyed a sabbatical year living in Cambridge, England, that also entailed a European tour.

Joan’s beloved husband Johnston widowed Joan in July 2004. They were both lifelong members of St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Milton, and Joan was a member of the Milton Garden Club and enjoyed luncheons with her friends, the “Wednesday Girls,” with regularity well into her mid-90s.

Joan is survived by her two children: Ian W. Torney and his wife Donna M. Torney of Jackson, New Hampshire, and Anne M. Torney and her husband David C. Mar of Berkeley, California.

She is the grandmother of Christian and William Torney and the step-grandmother of Hannah and Forrest Richard (Torney).

Her sister-in-law, Suzy Williamson of Bexhill-On-Sea in East Sussex, United Kingdom, also survives her; and she is the aunt of Jane (Williamson) Schaffer and her husband Robert Schaffer of Chellaston, Derby, United Kingdom and the great-aunt of Andrew and William Schaffer.

Joan was interred alongside her husband Johnston in the Garden of Seasons at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Milton in a private family ceremony. A memorial service to celebrate her life will be scheduled at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Joan’s name may be sent to St. Michael’s Parish, 112 Randolph Ave., Milton, MA 02186 or the Milton Council on Aging, 10 Walnut St., Milton, MA 02186.

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