Joanne Patricia Droppers, age 86, died peacefully at the Masconomet Healthcare Center, in Topsfield, MA, on Wednesday, May 23, 2018, after a short illness.
She was born in Ithaca, NY, March 29, 1932. She was the youngest child of Walter C. and Minnie W. Muenscher.
She graduated from Cornell University with a BA in music in 1953. While at Cornell, she met and dated Garrett Droppers who sang bass in the choir she directed. They were married on August 29, 1953. They lived in Madison, WI, and Orono, ME, before settling in Alfred, NY, in 1961, where Garrett was a history professor. In addition to being a housewife and mother, she was employed from time to time as an administrative assistant. She spent countless hours assisting her husband in the typing and formatting of his doctoral thesis, making sure the English and Latin text matched on facing pages. Musically, Mrs. Droppers loved playing piano and singing with her family. She was organist for several Episcopal congregations, a hand bell ringer, and played violin in local community orchestras. Her crowning musical achievement was becoming a carillonneur member of the American Guild of Carillonneurs in 1976. She was appointed the Alfred University Carillonneur in 1977, a position she held until retirement in 1994. She toured the United States and Canada playing many North American carillons, and composed or arranged a number of songs for carillon, ranging from Bach’s Suite #II for Lute to Tubular Bells. A favorite in Alfred was the Oscar Meyer Weiner song which she arranged for Alfred’s annual “Hot Dog Day” celebration and fundraiser. Mrs. Droppers also served the Alfred and surrounding communities by working with migrant worker resettlement, housing for seniors, and serving on the local school board.
Upon her retirement in 1994, she moved to Arlington, VA, to be near her grandsons. While in Arlington, she continued her musical pursuits by playing the carillons in the area, helping the St. George's Church Arlington choir and serving as substitute organist. She tutored several wonderful students in English as a Second Language and worked with volunteer organizations including St. George’s food pantry, Arlington Re-Leaf, and the local winter homeless shelter as well as enjoying opportunities to join demonstrations in our nation’s capital. She also welcomed visits from friends and shared with them the many ethnic restaurants in the area.
In 2005, once her grandsons were grown, she followed a good friend, Lewis Lowe, to Fargo, ND, where there was an open sky, it was easier to cross the street and there was more snow. She was an active member of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church of Fargo, where she made new friends, helped with outreach efforts, and was instrumental in the church installing a peace pole.
Mrs. Droppers returned to the East coast in 2012, where she resided in Lynn, MA, to live close to her daughter. There she was a member of St. Stephen’s Memorial Episcopal Church in Lynn, where she served on the vestry, worked in the food pantry, helped distribute books to children, and worked to increase dialog between the local community and the Lynn Police Department.
She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband Garrett Droppers (who died in 1986), her brother Frank (who died in childhood), and her two sisters, Elizabeth DeVelbiss and Helen Tryon, and her close friend Shirley Galle. She is survived by her three children: Seton Droppers, (Patty), Arlington, VA; Christopher Droppers, (Jennifer Edwards), Staten Island, NY; Ann Droppers, Ipswich, MA; two grandchildren: Geoffrey Droppers, Portland, ME; Gregory Droppers, (Tiffany), Arlington, VA; and two great-grandchildren, Jovani and Hunter, both of Arlington, VA; sister-in-law Mary Ellen Droppers, Greensboro, NC; numerous nieces and nephews; and close friend Kathryn Satewicz, Madison, WI.
A funeral service will be held on Saturday, June 16, at 11 AM, at St. Stephen's Memorial Episcopal Church, Lynn MA. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Bergen Swamp Preservation Society (http://www.bergenswamp.org/), or the Cornell Botanic Gardens (http://www.cornellbotanicgardens.org/).
|Playing Davis Memorial Carillon, Alfred University|
|Young Joanne in Ithaca New York|