Joan Marie Barr Colasurdo
Joan Marie Barr Colasurdo passed away Jan. 22, 2015 at the age of 85. She was born in New Brunswick, N.J., daughter of John Barr and Margaret (Roeder) Barr ,and grew up in Edison, N.J. with older brother Robert. She graduated from New Brunswick High School where she established many lifelong friendships. She married her soulmate and love of her life Michael Colasurdo in 1950. They worked together to build their first home in Edison, N.J., brick by brick. She and Mike were often referred to as joined at the hip as you seldom saw one without the other. Her many talents included sewing custom made clothing, teaching ceramics, braiding her own rugs, needlepoint and cross stitch designs. She enjoyed cooking, baking, gardening, swimming, diving, skiing and travel. Joan loved to entertain and opened her heart and home to others.
She became the "super mother" of daughter Lynn and son Michael. Joan always put her family first, and was a dedicated caregiver to both her mother and father, husband Mike , brother Bob, as well as aunts and uncles that needed her. She had endless energy when there was a need to meet and nurtured all that needed her.
Joan and her husband Mike entered the restaurant business with her brother Bob Barr in Lakewood, N.J. in the 1970's. They found success through their hard work and dedication. Joan was a natural manager/owner and the business thrived. Shortly thereafter Joan's brother Bob became ill and passed away. She and Mike decided to sell the "White Elephant" and focus on Bob's other restaurant the "Fore 'n Aft" in South Seaside Park, N.J. They invited their son Michael and his wife Diane to join them. The four family members enjoyed success and retired in 1987. Joan and Mike then moved to their beloved Summerland Key home where she resided for 27 years.
Retirement for Joan meant more time to get involved with her new community and she stepped right up. Joan was a community organizer and volunteered to establish the Summerland Cove Civic Association, serving as its' first president and most recently treasurer. She also organized the monthly Ladies Birthday luncheon, and the annual February food drive. Joan and husband Mike managed the planting of hundreds of foxtail palms lining the streets of Summerland Cove after the devastation of Hurricane Georges in 1998. She worked against incorporation of the Lower Keys and against short-term vacation rentals in residential neighborhoods. She volunteered for "Citizens not Serf's" in the fight against FEMA inspections of downstairs enclosures. Joan's mission was to maintain the quality of life on beautiful Summerland Key. After the loss of her husband Mike of fifty-six years she immersed herself in volunteering at Sugarloaf school and became the volunteer of the year for her service and dedication to the students and faculty of the school. She was a volunteer at her church, St. Francis in the Keys Episcopal, where she continued to make many new friends. She loved the Keys and her life here. Joan was a most gracious, kind and beautiful person. She will endure in our hearts forever.
Joan is survived by her son Michael, (wife Diane), of Big Pine Key, Fla., grandsons Clinton and Curtis Colasurdo of Big Pine Key, Fla., grandson Robin Irizarry of San Francisco, Calif. ; nieces Alice Molferi of Las Vegas, Nev., Joan Schultz of Leesburg Fla., and many cousins. She was preceded in death by her husband Michael and daughter Lynn. A memorial will be held for Joan Feb. 21, 2015, 10 a.m. at St. Francis in the Keys Episcopal Church, 1600 Key Deer Blvd, Big Pine Key, Fla. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to St. Francis in the Keys in Joan's memory.