Joanne Crerand


Joanne Crerand of Essex died on May 2nd, 2024 in Hospice following a battle with cancer. She was 62.  Joanne was born on October 7th 1961 to Mary Grace (Coleman) and Joseph Crerand.  She leaves her husband of 30 years Charlie Hay and her two amazing sons Jack Hay and Cole Hay, whom she adored and was enormously proud of.  She was a devoted and gifted mother to her boys, supporting them and encouraging their imaginations, varied interests, and ambitions.

Joanne was raised in Pittsford NY near Rochester, and attended Ithaca College, receiving a Bachelor of Science Magna Cum Laude in Cinema Studies and Photography, with a minor in applied writing.  Her adult life was closely intertwined with the written word. After moving to Boston she had jobs in technical writing and as a production manager and project manager at publishing houses.  She continued her education at the renowned Radcliffe Publishing course and at Northeastern where she earned a Masters in English.

After moving to Essex in 1998 she built a career as a freelance editor which she continued throughout her life, performing both content and copy editing.  She also became the librarian at Glen Urquhart School.  She loved children and was able to instantly connect with them and focus on their interests and enthusiasms.  A student of children’s literature, she was able to pass along her excitement about books and reading and use her innate skill in reading out loud, something she also loved to do with her sons.  Joanne was famous for organizing book fairs twice a year at the school which were carefully curated to offer the best titles to students, parents, and teachers alike.

Joanne was recognized by everyone who knew her well to be incredibly generous, warm-hearted, and selfless.  She was known for her gift-giving and her thoughtfulness and kindness towards others.  Even during her illness, she invariably had a kind word and a smile for those assisting her.  She was a gifted gardener tending to both a house full of indoor plants, her summer perennial beds, and an abundant and colorful flower garden from which she created Cart Path bouquets that were sold at the Utopia Farms farm stand and elsewhere.  She was a lover of literature and a writer, being with her family skiing at Sugarloaf, cinema, art, nature, her dog Swallow, and yoga with her favorite instructor April DeVries.

This loss is devastating to the family, she was such a bright light in all of our lives. Joanne leaves an extended family including her beloved sister and lifelong friend Mary Ellen Myers.  Her brother Peter, who was always supportive.  Her brother David, and her sister-in-law and friend Ann Crerand, wife of Joanne’s brother Kevin who predeceased her.  Joanne also leaves many nieces and nephews on both the Crerand and Hay/Burroughs sides of the family. Thank you to everyone who supported Joanne during this challenging time with visits, cards, flowers and calls; they all made a difference.

The family would like to thank all the excellent doctors, empathetic nurses and caregivers who supported and connected with Joanne at Tufts Medical, MGH and the Kaplan House. Stephanie Morgan, Joanne’s good friend, was loving and loyal to her and offered wise counsel to the whole family.  Thanks to Madeline Lawson, who was a great friend to Joanne and who she loved having as part of the family.  Per Joanne’s request, no service is planned at this time.  Please consider donations in her honor to the Cape Ann Museum,, or the Essex Public Library Children's department,