Joan Babcock Brady died peacefully at home on Wednesday, July 21st surrounded by her family.
Born on May 27, 1934, Joanie was the oldest child of Katherine S. and Henry D. Babcock of Mill Neck, NY. Her life was greatly shaped by the Babcock household which was filled with music, dance, wit and humor.
On June 27, 1957, she married James C. Brady. They lived in New York City before moving to Far Hills, New Jersey where they raised their three children.
A lifelong artist, Joanie’s training began at Briarcliff College and continued in New York City at the Art Students League where she studied under Robert Brackman, Harry Sternberg and George Gross, and later in NYC painting groups led by Aaron Shikler and David Levine.
Her art exhibits and shows began in 1968 and continued for five decades. Tatistcheff Gallery on 57th Street in NYC represented her work in six one-woman shows from 1983 to 2000. Gallery owner Peter Tatistcheff wrote: “Joan Brady is a contemporary Impressionist with an unerring eye for the gracious American domestic interior. Since she began exhibiting her paintings and watercolors in New York over a decade ago, critics and connoisseurs alike have acknowledged her unique understanding of casual elegance.”
Her paintbrush moved easily from one medium to the next. In the 1970s, Joanie surprised her husband by painting his train station car from head to toe with brilliant flower blossoms, and the car became known as “Flower Power” throughout the local community.
She was a longstanding member of the Garden Club of Somerset Hills, with many of her signature watercolors being used for programs and House & Garden Tour invitations. She reveled in painting trips where she uniquely captured the beauty and uniqueness of cultures around the world.
Beyond the studio, Joanie had a wide array of interests. She was a guiding force behind the establishment of The Mind/Body Medical Institute at Morristown Memorial Hospital and served on a number of boards including: Mind/Body Medical Institute, MA; Morristown Memorial Hospital, NJ; The Marion Institute, MA; Vermont Studio Center, VT; Far Hills Country Day School, NJ and St. George’s School, RI.
Over the past two decades, she blended her paintings with the written word and self-published five books. Throughout her life, Joanie loved ballroom dancing and was a favorite partner among dance aficionados.
Joan Babcock Brady leaves behind her son, James C. Brady III, and his wife, Anne Lusk Brady, daughter, Joan “Nonie” Brady, and her husband, Wilhelm Merck, and daughter, Kerry Chace Brady, and her husband, Brock Dolman. She also leaves her two granddaughters—Audrey Slade Brady and Millicent McKay Brady—to whom she was devoted. Her beloved husband of 63 years, James C. Brady, predeceased her in 2020.
A memorial service will be held this fall. In lieu of flowers, donations in Joanie’s memory may be made to the Joan B. and James C. Brady Fund at LifeCamp (greaternewarklifecamp.org).