Joanne Hancox Gillespie, 65, who loved being a wife, mother and grandmother, of Nottingham, died Thursday, Nov. 13, at Chester River Hospital in Chestertown, Md.Born in Upland, Mrs. Gillespie graduated from Holy Child High School in Sharon Hill, where she excelled in art.

In 1990, she graduated from Delaware County Community College's Women in Transition Program, where she became an advocate for her less fortunate classmates. Mrs. Gillespie went on to earn a degree in business from the PA Institute of Technology in 1993, graduating magna cum laude. Mrs. Gillespie worked for 10 years as a graphic artist for Bell Telephone in Philadelphia. Known as a determined, natural and persistent supporter of those less fortunate, Mrs. Gillespie was a crusader for the educational rights of the mentally challenged, sometimes to the point of legal involvement. A tireless advocate for almost everyone she met, she also helped care for and mentor some of her less fortunate classmates, and she provided meals for those who were without food. A self-appointed family historian, Mrs. Gillespie gathered information about her Irish relatives and their immigration to the U.S. A highlight of her life was her trip to Ireland in 2006 to visit relatives in County Mayo. A woman of many accomplishments, Mrs. Gillespie was most proud of her family. She is remembered by her faith in God's love, her generous heart and her joy and hope in desperate situations. She was known for her laughter, forgiveness and her love throughout her life.

She was the daughter of the late Joseph and Eva Hibbs Hancox of Eddystone.

She is survived by her husband of 40 years, Bernard P. "Skip" Gillespie; son, Tom Gillespie; daughter, Bridget Bieber of Willow Street; sisters, Elaine Butakis of Aston and Irene Hooker of Galena, Md.; and three grandchildren.

Her memorial Mass was held Wednesday, Nov. 26, at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, Chester Pike, Eddystone. Visitation followed the service. Burial was private. Contributions may be made to Joanne Gillespie Memorial Fund, c/o Peoples Bank of Kent County, 166 N. Main St., Galena, Md. 21635.

Arrangements were by Galena Funeral Home of Stephen L. Schaech.

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