Joan Elizabeth Neese

Joan Elizabeth Neese, 80, of 71 Margaret St., Saranac Lake, died Saturday, April 6, 2013, at the home of her sister, Diana Smith Shumway, in Branford, Conn.

Born in Saranac Lake on Oct. 4, 1932, she was the daughter of Oliver and Mary (Fletcher) Smith.

She married Alan Neese on June 21, 1951, in Saranac Lake and they celebrated their 61st wedding anniversary in 2012. Alan predeceased her on Aug. 28, 2012.

Mrs. Neese was born and raised in Saranac Lake. She lived briefly in Rochester and then returned to Saranac Lake. Mrs. Neese worked for J.J. Newberry & Co and the Ames Department Store. In the mid ’70s she went to work at the General Hospital of Saranac Lake, where she retired after 17 years. She was an active member of the Catholic Daughters of America Court St. Bernard until October 2012. She loved ceramics and reading mystery novels, especially Agatha Christie.

Mrs. Neese is survived by her children: Robert Neese of Maine, Carla Palmirotto of Asheville, N.C., Dion Neese of Saranac Lake and Micah Neese of Palm Bay, Fla.; 13 grandchildren: Jennifer Butler, Kristen Gill, Rebekah Butler, Courtney Cucinotta, Lindsay Dunn, Adriane Stickney, Nicholas Palmirotto, Allison DeFranco Neese, Carey Neese, Kelly Neese, Lucy Neese, Nina Champion and Nathaniel Vieira; 12 great-grandchildren and one on the way. She is also survived by two brothers: John Smith of New Hartford, Conn., and Joseph Smith of Gaston, S.C.; three sisters: Beverly Smith Groth of Rochester, Donna Smith Hart of Utica and Diana Smith Shumway of Branford, Conn.; and many nephews and nieces.

She was predeceased by one brother, Oliver, and three sisters: Patricia Howe, Dorothy Naegele, and Shirley LaMas.

Calling hours will take place from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 10 at the Fortune-Keough Funeral Home in Saranac Lake. A Catholic Daughters service will take place at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday. A Mass of Christian burial will take place at 11 a.m. Thursday, April 11 at St. Bernard’s Church in Saranac Lake with the Rev. Bill Muench officiating. Burial will take place at St. Paul’s Cemetery in Bloomingdale.

Friends wishing to remember Joan Elizabeth Neese may make memorial contributions to Catholic Daughters of America Court St. Bernard in care of the funeral home. Family and friends can also share their memories and sign the online guestbook at