School 09

Joyce (Yancey) Hanrahan

September 29, 1933 ~ February 2, 2024 (age 90) 90 Years Old

Joyce Hanrahan Obituary

Joyce (Yancey) Hanrahan, previously of Wells, Maine, died peacefully on February 2, 2024, in Kittery, Maine. She was 90 years old.

Joyce was a teacher, principal, and school administrator in multiple public and private schools, an educational consultant, and an antiquarian. 

Born on September 29, 1933, in Fyffe, Alabama, Joyce was the daughter of Wallace Odell and Nellie Lee (Raughton) Yancey.  She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Alabama in 1955, her Master of Education from the University of New Hampshire in 1969, and did postgraduate work at both Boston University and Harvard University

While at UNH, Joyce met Edward John (Jack) Hanrahan, who was also pursuing his master’s degree, and they married on November 12, 1960.  In 1963, Jack and Joyce drove to Wisconsin with 58 cartons of books, some antique furniture and 2 cats. At the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Jack taught courses in Milton and worked on his Ph.D. while Joyce did postgraduate work and taught in the public schools.

Jack and Joyce returned to UNH and Durham in 1966, and in 1969 Joyce was named Principal of the Little Harbor School in Portsmouth, NH. In 1970, they opened their successful business, “J & J Hanrahan, Books, Paintings, Antiques,” and for three years also owned the “Matthew Marsh House,” restaurant, both in Portsmouth, NH. In 1978, Joyce was named Principal of the York (Maine) Elementary School, where she was a beloved mentor to many teachers.  Well-known for her intellectual curiosity and competence, Joyce was also a respected educational consultant. Her interest in children’s literature led her to research and write the definitive bibliographical guide, the “Works of Maurice Sendak”.

Joyce had a contagious laugh and a lovely singing voice.  Intelligent, competent, and kind, yet direct, Jack often jokingly referred to her as “Madam General.”

In 1984, Joyce was hired to be Headmistress Lower School at the International School in Brussels, Belgium. Jack and Joyce enjoyed three wonderful years abroad, returning to the U.S. when Joyce was recruited as head of the Lower Schools at Shady Side Academy in Pittsburgh, PA, and later at The Pingry School in Short Hills, NJ.  They enjoyed their proximity to New York City for their rare book business.  

Jack and Joyce retired in 2000 to Wells, Maine, where they continued to run their rare book business, enjoy southern Maine, indulge their three cats, and feed the birds. 

Survivors include her sister, Patricia Yancey Martin, sister-in-law Judith Conant Yancey; many nieces, nephews, and cousins; and dear friend Barbara Hawkes.

Joyce was predeceased by her husband and partner of 56 years, Jack; her brother, Wallace Glenn Yancey; and sisters and brothers-in-law Margaret and Charles Hanrahan and Virginia and Richard (Dick) Swahnberg.

A private Celebration of Joyce’s Life will be held. Communications with the family may be sent to Joyce’s niece, Judy Swahnberg:


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Celebration of Life to be held privately


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