Joan (Alwardt) Ethier died unexpectedly on Tuesday, March 5, at the North Shore Medical Center in Salem, with her family by her side. She was 59 and was the beloved wife of James S. Ethier. Born in Oak Bluffs, she was the daughter of the late Carl and Frances (Bettencourt) Alwardt. Raised and educated on the Vineyard, she was a graduate of the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School and continued her education at the University of Massachusetts Amherst where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in plant and soil science. Joan had dedicated her professional career with Café Teresa’s in Londonderry, N.H., where she worked as a waitress and dining room manager for over 20 years until the time of her retirement.

A loving and dedicated wife, mother, grandmother and sister, she was devoted to her family. She tended her garden and nourished beautiful plants and vegetables that she used to cook delightful meals for her family and friends. Everything she made was done with love. An avid golfer, Joan and loved to travel to the Cape with her husband to play on challenging and gorgeous golf courses. They also cherished the Old Salem Green’s a local course that created many memories between the two of them and their many friends.

She will be deeply missed by her family and many friends.

In addition to her husband James, she is survived by her daughter, Alison DeLeo of Manchester, N.H.; her son Michael DeLeo of Manhattan, N.Y.; a sister, Marcia Anderson of Port Charlotte, Fla.; two brothers, Michael Alwardt of West Tisbury, and Eric Alwardt of Plymouth; one granddaughter and several nieces and nephews. She was the sister of the late Paul Bussiere.

At the request of the family, services will be private.

Arrangements are under the care of The O’Donnell Funeral Home in Salem. To share a memory or offer a condolence, please visit