Art Creative 04

Joan W. (Victor) Gessner

August 25, 1937 ~ April 26, 2020 (age 82)


Art and Painting were her life.

AMESBURY, MA It is with a heavy heart to share the sad  news of the sudden and unexpected passing of Joan Gessner, an accomplished artist and teacher of Amesbury, MA  on April 26 at her home. She was 82 years old and lived her life to the fullest every day.  Joan was born in Youngstown, OH in 1937 to the late Edward and Anna Victor. She was the oldest of 5 children. She is survived by her 3 children and 6 grandchildren, ex-husband, beloved dog BB, 2 siblings  and an amazing artistic legacy.

Joan moved to Amesbury  in 1997 to be closer to her daughter Casey  and began teaching art classes  at the Newburyport Art Association by teaching only 4 students. From there her “hobby” grew into what is now her artist legacy. There was a space available to rent and she was able to have her classes at the  Artist Muse for several years which continued to  increase her watercolor classes and students. She was then able to purchase a home  in Amesbury that had a space  for her to be able to hold classes and she  called it “Gessner Studios”.

Joan’s teaching philosophy in her words “I Love and believe in what I do” “Passing on what I have learned about painting is my PASSION. I believe the development  of talent , whether young or adult, needs the appropriate tools and techniques. The focus of each of my classes is to offer the student an abundant array of techniques thus promoting success in any medium.”

Many of her students have said  how much she impacted their lives both as an artist and a person. So many fond memories grew in her basement studio. Joan taught her students so much from starting to mix colors and that a paintbrush can do so much more than create strokes of color on a piece of paper. She also taught her students that life was short and that they needed to fill every minute of it with the things they love and believe in. “Many of us have never seen anyone more full of light and life than Joan. She loved to travel around the world and learn about the richness of all different cultures and would incorporate them into her own personal paintings. Joan was a gifted artist and a patient, encouraging teacher for her students.  Joan  provided a safe, nurturing space in her home for her students to connect with their own creativity and talent. She saw spirit in each of her students and believed painting, cooking and also  baking was a way that we could connect more deeply to the world around us. Joan will live on in each painting and in  every brushstroke in the hearts of all her students.”

The amount of people she touched throughout her life will always  live on in her legacy.  Another student quoted “I am so profoundly grateful for her  giving me one of the biggest gifts of my life.  Joan  was the gift and I will go my whole life feeling grateful for our connection, the time we had together and the many lessons she taught me.”

Her granddaughter Grace stated “Heaven gained an amazing angel on Sunday.

Your artist ability and witty humor will be missed by so many.

You’ve touched the lives of more people than we even knew.

I hope you will keep painting up there. We will miss you forever grandma.”

As her children, we valued her insight, guidance and knowledge about everything.that enlightened us and for that we are very grateful. Joan was also an excellent cook and baker. We regret that we never learned to make pie crust as she made the best apple pie ever but did learn to make Polish pierogies this past Christmas. Joan was also an avid reader always having 3 books going at a time.  She was also famous for hand knitted wool socks of which so many students now have.

Throughout her life she received numerous awards for best of show and first in Watercolor awards. Most notably was the People’s choice award at the 1984 World's Fair in New Orleans with her painting entitled “The Quilt”.

Joan also loved to travel, touring 17 countries, all over the globe, capturing images and subjects that she turned into watercolor paintings and truly capturing the essence of their culture. Her travels included teaching art to river children in the Peruvian jungle. Joan also had a love for food and cooking, sharing a meal several times a week for her beloved neighbor, Tim Vedrani.  Joan is survived by her three children Cheryl Summers of Nokomis, Florida, Casey Gessner Mogren and her husband Mark of Newburyport MA and their children Ali Alyward and husband Brett of Arcata, CA, Grace and Matthew Mogren of Newburyport, MA, John F. Gessner III and his wife Annemare and their 3 children Natalie, Maggie and Jack of Woodbury, Minnesota.  Siblings Raymond J. Victor and his wife Mickey of  Austintown, OH. and Sandra Mufich and her husband from Kinsman, Ohio. and John F. Gessner II  ex-husband of Cinton, MS.

A celebration of life service will be announced at a later date. The Twomey, LeBlanc, & Conte Funeral Home 193 High St. Newburyport, MA 01950 is assisting Ms. Gessner’s family with her funeral arrangements.

Memorial  donations  may be made to Our Neighbor’s Table or Boston Food Bank, Joan would have wanted that.

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To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Joan W. (Victor) Gessner, please visit our floral store.


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