Joan Claire Papa, devout Catholic

August 5, 2022

Joan Claire Papa, 91, of Lewes, passed away at home Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022. She was born Sept. 2, 1930, in Kansas City, Mo., daughter of the late Winston and Genevieve Keim.

Joan was a loving wife of 66 years to William T. Papa (Bill), who passed away in January 2022. She is survived by her children, Tom, Joseph, Mary (Gregory), Anne, Gregory and Julie (Stuart); grandchildren Justin, Sean, Colin (Amy), Rachel, William and Katharine; great-grandchildren, Piper and Calvin; and sister, Kathleen.

A graduate of the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas, Joan married Bill shortly thereafter and dedicated her life to raising their family as Bill’s career with IBM took them to Saugerties, N.Y., Kailua, Hawaii, and Rockville, Md. Bill and Joan retired to Lewes in 1999.

Joan’s Roman Catholic faith, and in particular her devotion to the Blessed Mother, was profound and fundamental to all aspects of her life. For many years she taught the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, including at St. Jude’s Parish in Lewes. Later in her life, she became involved with the Secular Order of the Discalced Carmelites, Community of Mary, and in June 2022 made her Definitive Promise in a ceremony witnessed by her children and members of the Carmelite community.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11 a.m., Tuesday, Aug. 16, at St. Jude the Apostle Church, 152 Tulip Drive, Lewes, where friends may visit beginning at 10 a.m..  Burial will follow at St. Joseph's on the Brandywine Church Cemetery, 10 Old Church Road, Greenville.

Arrangements have been entrusted to Parsell Funeral Homes & Crematorium, Atkins-Lodge Chapel, Lewes.

Visit Joan's Life Memorial webpage and sign her virtual guestbook at


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