Mary Joan (Murphy) Heavey was born on April 14, 1929 in Gardiner, Maine. She was the oldest of five siblings including, Patricia (Murphy) Bragdon, Cornelius Murphy, Jr., Nancy (Murphy) Gagne and Michael Murphy. She is survived by her sister, Patricia (Patty). Joan remembered the great hurricane in the mid-1930s in Gardiner, Maine when her family noticed whitecaps on the Kennebec River. Only a few hours were available to prepare for that one.
Joan attended The University of Maine, Farmington, pursuing a major in English. She met our father, Kenneth Edward Biglane from Shreveport, Louisiana, at Rangeley Lake in Maine. They met while he was working a summer job there. They were later married and took up residence in Louisiana. In Baton Rouge, she had three children: Michael Smith Biglane, Camille Marguerite Biglane and Patrick Bonner Biglane.
As a child, Camille reminiscences, “While living in Baton Rouge, Mom became appalled upon discovering that our African-American ‘help’ could not read. As I recall, from 11 AM until noon every day, our ‘help’, along with their parents, showed up at our house for a reading lesson. It was very important to them to learn how to read the Bible.”
Also in Baton Rouge, she wrote and published a women’s magazine called Journel de Femme. One of her featured articles consisted of an interview with a woman who had acquired a painting by Paul Gauguin (perhaps at a garage sale?).”
In 1964, The Biglanes moved to Bowie, Maryland where Joan continued to write and publish her newspaper. She also worked for The Bowie Blade and The Annapolis Capital newspapers in that region.
Her second husband was John Melcher Heavey, from Crofton, Maryland. They enjoyed 21 years of marriage until John passed in 1999. “Upon visiting her residence in Crofton as a young man, I became deeply impressed by something my mother had done”, says Patrick, her younger son. “She took in an older teenage girl, someone I had met in the past and of whom, I had prior knowledge. This poor girl had no father and a drug-addicted mother”. Patrick continues, “I’ll never forget that act of compassion displayed by my mother.”
Joan moved to The Villages in 2003 where she participated in writer’s clubs, Bridge clubs, played golf and where she met her last love, John Wheeler, who predeceased her earlier this year.
During her working life she also started antique shops, a restaurant, and always had her next book in mind to write. She wrote under the pen name “Joan Randolph”, as Randolph was one of the closest towns to her hometown of Gardiner, Maine. “She still has many unpublished books that need to be published”, says Camille. “She was most well known for her last two books which she researched, wrote and published in The Villages: Imagination, a compilation of works by The Villages Writer’s Club, and Saving the Opry, the story of the Orange Blossom Opry in nearby Wiersdale, Florida.”
“She was a very unique woman and a very loving mother. We shall never forget her”, says Camille, Patrick and Michael.