Joanne Hart Shepard died on Jan. 24 in Fort Collins, Colo. with her family at her side. She was 87.

She was born on June 17, 1929 in New Britain, Conn. in her great-grandfather’s house on Lexington street, which is now the New Britain Museum of American Art. Having lost her mother at an early age, Joanne and her sister, Martha, grew up at the Wayside Farm with not only her father, Ted Hart, but grandparents Maxwell and Louise Hart, her aunt Maxine, and cousin Sandy as well. Harthaven was her second home, where entire summers were spent surrounded by multiple generations of cousins and friends. She enjoyed all the fun offered by this close-knit, fun-loving clan, including hanging out at the East Chop Beach Club, sailing catboats, horseback riding up-Island, beachcombing for sea glass, enjoying legendary clambakes and, of course, catching stripers and blues with her dad. As a young lady, the summer cottage grew more active with the addition of her stepmother, Ruth, and her two daughters.

She was a 12th generation Connecticut Yankee with roots going back to the Mayflower on her mother’s side. She attended the Vance School in New Britain and then endured long train rides to attend the Neatherwood School in New Brunswick, Canada with her cousin Carol Moore, and then Barnard College in New York city. The Depression and World War II formed her youth and, as with all families at the time, life was humble but enriched by the notion of shared sacrifice and the camaraderie offered by her extended family.

While on the Vineyard she observed naval training beach landings on State Beach in preparation for the Normandy invasion. Her grandmother offered meals to the young Seaman Recruits and in return, Joanne learned bawdy drinking songs that are still sung today at family gatherings. Joanne recalled hurricanes where the Beach Road was closed and the only way into Harthaven was through the woods by the Tradewinds airstrip.

It was on the Vineyard that she developed a lifetime love for tennis. Her graceful form was hard to miss. Tall and athletic, she rose through the amateur ranks and became a renowned mixed doubles partner. Competitive by nature, Joanne brought home more trophies than would fit in the house. Her tennis acumen took her to Puerto Vallarta as part of promotional tour sponsored by the Mexican government.

She married John Shepard in 1949 and over the course of four years had three children. In 1963, economic opportunity beckoned and it was on to Winnetka, Ill. to raise the family along the north shore of Chicago. In later years, she resided in Evanston, Ill., where she became an excellent shade gardener when she wasn’t down at Elliott Park playing tennis along the shore of Lake Michigan. The family matriarch, a stoic New Englander, she doted over her flock and instilled timeless values that are manifested in three generations.

She was preceded in death by her parents, sister, and her grandson Gary Armstrong Falk. She is survived by her children, Marti Halverson of Etna, Wyo.; Victoria Hunt of Fort Collins, Colo.; and Ted Shepard and his wife, Paula of Fort Collins, Colo.; her grandchildren Kristie Shifflettte and her husband, Matt of Chapel Hill, N.C., Sarah Hunt of Fort Collins, Colo., and Karen Skinner and her husband, Dan of Springfield, Ill.; granddaughter in law Kate Falk; and seven great-grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Foothills Gateway Rehabilitation Center for Disabled Adults Foundation, 301 Skyway Drive, Fort Collins, Colorado, 80525.