Joan Beverley Barr, affectionately known as “Aunty Bev,” was born on December 17, 1958 to Luther Albert and Doreen Maud Barr.
Young Joan attended St. Francis Primary & Infant School, and Convent of Mercy “Alpha” High School, where she favored History class. Bright and industrious, Joan held a summer job at the Ministry of Housing as a teenager, volunteered at the Spanish Town Hospital’s maternity ward after high school, and later became a Teller at Royal Bank.
Joan was unwaveringly devoted to her parents, especially her mother, a chronic diabetic, whom she showered with care and attention. Joan was also the beloved, younger sister to brothers – much older, Raymond, who helped raise her, and Hugh, whom she lost in a violent act in 1980. Despite this early tragedy, Joan remained fearless, migrating to the United States of America in 1984.
Blessed with an aptitude for numbers, Joan worked at David Bernstein & Co. accounting firm for over 10 years, and later started her own business as a tax preparer, combining business acumen with her fondness for people. However, the innately nurturing Joan always had an interest in a nursing career, and briefly pursued this path, earning a certificate in Phlebotomy and volunteering at a veteran’s hospital. Joan later returned to accounting at Menaker & Hermann law firm, and was retained through its merger with Offit Kurman law firm some 10+ years later.
Standing no more than 5 feet 3 ½ inches, Joan was taller than most in character. She battled cancer for over 20 years, defying many predictions about the length and quality of her life. Her indomitable spirit and faith in God, whom she lovingly referred to as “my Daddy,” enabled her to overcome many medical challenges and live a full, happy life. Surviving cancer and helping others do the same became Joan’s personal calling, and she proudly served on her church’s cancer survivor (HOPE) and finance ministries, and as a cancer research fundraiser/volunteer (American Cancer Association).
Joan’s kindness and authenticity were legendary, and she treasured her deeply impactful relationships with her large family and close friends. More than an aunt, Joan was a mother to many of her nieces and nephews, and was well practiced in this area when she birthed her miracle baby, Darryl, in 1992. Joan was also a proud home owner, and hosted many festive gatherings at her home, where her family and friends flocked to her light and energy, and delicious cooking. Sassy and confident, she commanded respect, but was endearing; she would as soon challenge you as love you, a rare blend of strength and compassion. Selfless as she was, her biggest indulgence was shopping, and she delighted in the thrill of a sale (Macy’s will forever mourn its Queen!).
Joan is survived by her beloved son, Darryl; sisters, Pauline, Sonia, and Angeline; brothers, Raymond, Desmond, and Roy; many nieces, nephews, cousins, and a host of other dear family and very special friends, too many to name, but who know themselves.
Mom, “Aunty Bev,” Joan, we will forever miss you, but count ourselves eternally blessed to have shared your love. Though gone in body, you live on in our hearts and your rich legacy.
To plant a tree in memory of Joan Beverley Barr, please visit our tribute store.