Joan Marie (Gendron) Harding, 82

Apr 20, 2020

Joan Marie (Gendron) Harding of Mashpee, formerly of Mattapoisett, died April 14 at a Sandwich long-term care facility after a long illness. She was 82 years old.

Born to Florence and Charles Gendron of New Bedford, she was raised with her 11 siblings on a farm in Acushnet. She was a 1955 graduate of New Bedford High School.

She went to work in the family business, Ma’s Doughnut Shop in New Bedford and Buzzards Bay; the shop was featured in the 1990s sitcom “Wings.” While working in the Buzzards Bay store, she met Bourne Police Officer Wilson “Bud” Harding, who became a regular at the shop. They were married in 1957.

The couple lived initially in Bourne and Acushnet and then moved to Mattapoisett, where they raised their four children. Ms. Harding continued work for the family doughnut shop and then became a bookkeeper at Bud’s Auto Body, a business she owned with her husband for 40 years in Fairhaven.

After their retirement, they moved to Mashpee.

A person who was never idle, Ms. Harding kept herself occupied by making jigsaw puzzles and ceramics and was an avid reader, often reading several books at once. She loved playing cards and parlor games and watching movies. She had an extensive collection of children’s titles to share with her grandchildren, with a special fondness for the character Pepé Le Pew.

She also loved to travel and, in addition to annual holiday visits to her family in Ohio, she and her husband traveled to Hawaii, California, Florida and the Caribbean. She had a special fascination for English history and had hoped to make a trip to England.

Until she became ill a year ago, Ms. Harding was a regular attendee of the Tuesday and Thursday senior lunch gatherings at the Mashpee Wampanoag Community and Government Center, where her husband is a tribal member.

In addition to her husband of 63 years, she leaves her daughter Melissa A. Harding of Welborn, Florida; two sons, Matthew S. Harding and his wife, Gretchen Liesl Eiselt, of Bexley, Ohio, and Mark D. Harding and his wife, Paula Peters, of Mashpee; granddaughters Bryn Aquinnah Harding of Westchester, Pennsylvania, Lili Katherine Harding and Margaux Lynn Harding of Columbus, Ohio, and Chrystal Coppering of Sumterville, Florida; and a great-granddaughter, Novah Coppering, also of Sumterville.

She was preceded in death by her daughter Melanie Marie, who died in 1980 at the age of 18.

A celebration of her life will be held at a later date.