Joan Yamilkoski

April 7, 1934 ~ November 9, 2022 (age 88) 88 Years Old


Joan (Cantin) Yamilkoski, 88, passed away peacefully at home on November 9, 2022.  She was the daughter of V. Barbara (Rosemarynoski) and Paul A. Cantin.


She leaves behind a daughter, Lisa Yamilkoski of Easthampton, MA, a son and his wife, Mark and Marge Yamilkoski of Cummington, MA.   She was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Chet, her youngest son, Kirk and a yard full of spoiled cats and dogs.  She also leaves two brothers and their wives:  Wayne and Katie Cantin of Boiling Springs, South Carolina; Alan and Cathy Cantin of Hadley, MA.  She leaves her grandchildren – Ashley and husband Drew Harrison (honorary grandson), Lauren Carlotto and husband Matt, Aaron Sparko and his wife Mary.  She also cherished her great- grandchildren, Brooke, Christa, Khloe, Aaron Jr., Breanna, Noah, Cameron and Jackson.


Joan was born in Springfield MA on April 7, 1934. She graduated from Easthampton High after taking a secretarial course, but abruptly changed direction and became a registered nurse.  She graduated from nursing school in the early 50s and was a private duty scrub nurse to a neurosurgeon.  She married Chester Yamilkoski on July 7, 1956.  She and Chet expanded his family’s business by building a second drive-in theatre in Deerfield, MA: the Deerfield Drive-In Theatre. Concurrently with running the drive-in, Joan worked as an emergency room nurse at Holyoke Hospital. When she and Chet purchased the Majestic Theater in Easthampton, she left nursing to oversee the refurbishing of the Majestic.  In 1983, she and Chet purchased the Canal Bowling Lanes from her parents, and she was a fixture at the bowling alley for over 35 years, where she greeted every bowler.  She loved to teach people of all ages how to bowl.   She was elected to the Candlepin Bowling Hall of Fame in 2011.  


Joan was a master multi-tasker. While meeting the demands of a family and a family business, she also renovated an abandoned farmhouse into a beautiful home.  She enjoyed going to tag sales, searching all over New England for the perfect piece to complete an antique dining room set, ferreting out the aged curio shelf to fit that empty corner in the hallway and decorating for the holidays.  She could wallpaper, refinish furniture, and add the one detail that would make a room into an inviting spot.  She confidently wore a beehive hairdo right into the 80’s.


She was an accomplished seamstress, and baked wedding cakes, because she enjoyed the challenges of making something both tasty and beautiful.  She loved taking her granddaughters shopping, spoiling the people she loved with unexpected gifts, giving fashion advice, and never met a flavor of ice cream she didn’t like.  In her later years, she loved having Ashley and her girls drop by Holyoke Street for hugs and kisses.


A Funeral Service will be held Tuesday Nov 15 at 1030am in the Mitchell Funeral Home.  Calling hours will be Monday Nov 14 at the Mitchell Funeral Home from 4 to 7 pm


Please make contributions in lieu of flowers to the Alzheimer’s Association, the ASPCA, or the Shriner’s Children’s Hospital. 

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