Former Long Islander Joan McKinnon, 82, artist, fashionista

Joan McKinnon, of Winthrop, Maine, died Sept. 21 Joan McKinnon, of Winthrop, Maine, died Sept. 21 from natural causes after suffering a blood clot. She was 82. Photo Credit: handout

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Former Long Islander Joan M. McKinnon was an artist who enjoyed reinventing herself, dressing fashionably, traveling and attracting friends wherever she went.

McKinnon, of Winthrop, Maine, died Sept. 21 from natural causes after suffering a blood clot. She was 82.

"She was always very positive and vivacious," said her son Jimmy Lawler, 56, of Lynbrook. "She was a great listener and she just loved to be around her family."

And one of the things she most identified with was the decades of summers the family spent camping in Hither Hills State Park in Montauk, Lawler said.

Born Nov. 30, 1930, in Brooklyn to Edward and Margaret, McKinnon had a sister, Patricia, and brother, Edward. At 17, she represented Brooklyn in the New York City Figure Skating Championship. She graduated from the all-girls, Roman Catholic Catherine McAuley High School in Brooklyn in 1947.

Married in 1953 to James Lawler, McKinnon moved to North Babylon, where she raised her three children. She divorced in 1971 and moved to Brightwaters in 1975, then to North Conway, N.H., in 1998. She settled near daughter Peggy Lawler, 53, in Winthrop, Maine, in 2004.

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Along the way, McKinnon worked from 1955 to 1970 in the fashion world, modeling and selling clothes at fashion shows. She also worked in the aerospace industry from 1967 to 1972 for companies such as Fairchild-Hiller Corp. and Airborne Instruments Laboratory in Deer Park. She served 20 years as an investigator for the Law Guardian Office of Suffolk County.

After her retirement in 1992, she worked as a concierge for a hotel in North Conway until 2004. At age 78, she joined the Senior College at the University of Maine at Augusta, where she took classes available for seniors. She also continued to pursue her love of art and enjoyed the outdoors by skiing Mont Tremblant in Quebec, Canada, touring through Ireland, and sleeping in a tent in Yellowstone National Park at age 69.

"Her artwork exemplified who she was," her son said. "She loved to draw her art with pen and ink. She loved to give away her art."

McKinnon had been a member of the chamber of commerce in North Conway, an active member of the Rainbow Club in Winthrop and a member of the Women's Club at St. Francis Xavier Roman Catholic Church in Winthrop.

McKinnon was buried at Readfield Cemetery in Readfield, Maine.

She also is survived by daughter Joan Mary Weber, 59, of Port Washington; nine grandchildren and four great grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Joan McKinnon Memorial Scholarship for Arts and Technology at Kennebec Savings Bank in Winthrop, Maine.

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