Joan M. Hymes, an educator and pianist, died unexpectedly Wednesday in Sisters Hospital. She was 79.
During her 32 years as an elementary teacher in the Maryvale Central Schools, she produced plays and musicals that packed the auditorium. She retired in 1987.
Earlier, as she and her friends brought up their families in North Buffalo, she entertained them with her piano playing in a happy atmosphere that some said "had all the trappings of a circus."
Born Joan T. Murphy in Pawtucket, R.I., she began high school at Holy Angels Academy after coming to Buffalo in 1940. She earned bachelor's and master's degrees from Buffalo State College.
She spent summers at Bonnet Shores in Rhode Island and later at Sherkston Shores and Long Beach on Ontario's Lake Erie shoreline. In recent years, she made yearly trips to Naples, Fla.
After retiring, Mrs. Hymes joined the Seton Guild, where she organized fund-raisers and outings. She volunteered in the commissary at Sheehan Memorial Hospital. She was also a member of the Red Hat Society and played piano at its functions. She traveled widely and read.
Survivors include her husband of 54 years, William J. Jr.; three sons, William III and Peter A., both of Buffalo, and Michael M. of Hamburg; and two grandchildren.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Saturday in St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, Parkside and Parker avenues, after prayers at 9:15 in Dengler & Roberts Funeral Home, 2070 Eggert Road, Amherst. Entombment will be in Mount Olivet Cemetery, Town of Tonawanda.