Joan Elaine (Pryor) Holt

May 12, 1938 - January 17, 2024

Joan Elaine (Pryor) Holt, 85, passed away unexpectedly at her home in Walpole, New Hampshire on January 17.

Though only in Walpole for a couple of years, Joan was active and engaged in her new community, with three weekly visits to the Fitbody Gym and stops at Burdick’s for Hot Chocolate among her favorite activities.

Joan was born in Barre, Vermont on May 12, 1938, to Gerald and Rhoda (Allan) Pryor. She graduated from Spaulding High School with the Class of 1956. Eighteen months later the first of four children with first husband, Ronald Thomas, was born.

She developed a love of the outdoors and camping, initially at her grandfather, Archie Allan’s camp on Kettle Pond in Groton State Forest. Joan took her children on many camping trips, mostly to the Ricker Pond State Park in Groton, often with an extra Barre kid or two in tow. Her VW bug convertible was a familiar sight at Ricker.

Joan’s favorite job during her Barre days was in the Vermont State House, where she was secretary to Lieutenant Governor Jack Burgess from 1971-1975. She met and worked with many of Vermont’s top government officials during that period. She was active politically in her Vermont days and encouraged her children to become involved in the process.

Joan married Thomas G. Holt, Jr. in Barre on August 27, 1977, and they enjoyed just over 44 years together before he passed away in November of 2021. Tom’s career took them all over the United States, and the Holts lived in many locations including New Hampshire, California, New York, Virginia, Mississippi, and Florida before settling into their last retirement home in Lillian, Alabama. As she moved about the country she took on many volunteer positions, oftentimes with the Heart Association.

Joan was an avid reader, loved crossword puzzles, quilting, crafting, yard sales, the theatre, live music shows and Scrabble. Family members referred to Scrabble games with Joan as “Full contact Scrabble,” due in large part to her incredibly long turns.

Joan also loved to cook, and family members already miss her spectacular spaghetti sauce. When she entertained, savvy guests brought Tupperware, as food was never prepared on a small scale in her kitchen.

She considered a trip to Ireland with daughter, Jen Mellish, husband, Terry and their children as one of the highlights of her life, along with a European vacation with lifelong friend, Sandy (Colombo) Nelson.

Predeceased by her parents and husband, Joan’s survivors include her four children: Mark Thomas, Todd Thomas, Ronna Prescott (Tim) and Jen Mellish (Terry); grandchildren, Jason Thomas (Kelly), Matthew Thomas (Christina), Lindsay Simmons, Ethan Thomas (Amber Rose), Roth Sinkiewicz (Jackie), Nancy Layne Prescott, Paige Mellish, and Park Mellish, and ten great-grandchildren. Also surviving is her only sibling, Zoe Pryor, her children, Kelly Redcay (John), Kristin Donovan (Brian) and Seth Seaver, cousins, Linda (Spaulding) Dutcher, Carol (Pryor) Jewett, Pam Pryor, Janice (Pryor) Jansen, and Nancy (Pryor) Hamilton, along with lifelong close friend, Sandra Jean (Colombo) Nelson, and her favorite dog, Maxie.

As per Joan’s wishes, services will be private at the convenience of the family. There are no calling hours. Memorial contributions in her name can be made to the Walpole Fire Department, 278 Main Street, Walpole, NH 03608 or the Monadnock Humane Society, 101 West Swanzey Road, Swanzey, NH 03446.

Arrangements are entrusted to the care of the Fenton and Hennessey Funeral Home, 55 Westminster Street, Bellows Falls, VT 05101.

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