Joan Smith Eastman McShane, a former chemist with a wealth of hobbies, dies

Joan Smith Eastman McShane loved crafts, sports and bridge, among other hobbies.

Joan Smith Eastman McShane, a former chemist and sports enthusiast who became an active Episcopal Church parishioner, died of complications from old age Aug. 4 at the Broadmead Retirement Community in Cockeysville. She was 91.

Born in Syracuse, New York, she was the daughter of Marie Emma Jacobsen, a homemaker and volunteer, and Jay Knapp Smith, a paper products firm owner. Mrs. McShane was a graduate of the Goodyear-Burlingame School and Colby Junior College and earned a degree in chemistry from Syracuse University.


She later worked as a laboratory assistant at the Upstate University Medical Center, where she met her first husband, Dr. Gerard Eastman, a cardiologist.

“They met literally over spilled coffee. Joan and Gerry wed June 22, 1956, and moved to Lloyd Harbor, Long Island, where they began their new life together,” said her daughter, Betsy Vaughn. “They raised three children and a host of beloved pets that frequently accompanied my mother in her later years. She adored her Welch terriers, Bizzy and Whizzy.”


Her husband died after they had been married for 47 years.

She moved to Cockeysville in 2011, where she met the second love of her life, John Lockwood McShane, a retired architect who designed midcentury modern buildings and was a past president of what was then the Maryland Historical Society.

They eloped and exchanged vows at the Towson courthouse in 2012.

“This was much to my surprise. I had been planning their wedding. Then I got an email telling me she was getting married — that day,” her daughter said.

They celebrated nine happy years together until Mr. McShane’s death last year.

“My mother and John enjoyed their new combined family, traveling and quiet days together,” her daughter said. “My mother was known for her engaging smile and social nature.”

She said her mother was an avid skier who spent months at Stratton Mountain in Vermont each winter entertaining family and friends.

Mrs. McShane skied until she was 78 years old and moved to Broadmead.


She joined the retirement community’s social committee and planned trips to Baltimore’s theaters.

“She was always on a bus,” her daughter said.

While living in New York, Mrs. McShane played tennis and paddle tennis and did “noodling” at the Bath Club on Long Island. She shuttled children to practices or visited them at schools.

“Joan loved her crafts, creating a plethora of colorful crewel works ranging from tree ornaments to decorative items and a stunning Victorian chair,” her daughter said.

Mrs. McShane knitted sweaters, baby bootees and Christmas stockings for her grandchildren.

She had been an active parishioner at St. John’s Church of Cold Spring Harbor and played in its hand bell choir.

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“My mother was deeply appreciative of the incredible friendships that grew from her years on Long Island,” her daughter said. “These friendships brought individuals and families tightly together. She was similarly blessed when she moved to Maryland.”

Mrs. McShane took pride from the master points she earned from the World Bridge Federation, her daughter said. She was also active in garden clubs and sporting events.

She sailed at the Bath Club’s sunfish regattas in Long Island Sound.

“The races were often followed by sunset, beachside dinners,” her daughter said. “She also passed on her enthusiasm for sailing to her children.”

Survivors include two sons, Gerry Eastman of Locust Valley, New York, and Jay Eastman of Owings Mills; her daughter, Betsy Vaughn, of San Diego; and nine grandchildren.

She is also survived by her husband’s children, Kathleen “Kathie” McShane Emge of Millers; Lee McShane Cox of Steamboat Springs, Colorado; and J. Lockwood McShane, also of Steamboat Springs.


A memorial service will be held at 2:30 p.m. at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Cold Spring Harbor.