03. Joan Birmingham
A native of Andover, Massachusetts, Joan graduated from Wheaton College with a major in biology and a minor in education. She later received a master’s degree in earth science from North Eastern University. Joan enjoyed teaching math and science in California and Massachusetts for twelve years. When her husband, Preston, started his own architectural firm in Boston, she took an accounting course at Boston University, joined the firm, and managed its finances.
In the early 1980s Joan’s family spent many weeks sailing the US and BVIs and in 1987, when their youngest went off to college, Joan and Preston moved to St. John. Preston offered architectural services to the community; and Joan ran Glen Spear’s office while he built Mongoose Two.
In 1992 Joan married community activist and character Edward Bermingham after both their spouses died of cancer. Ed, and Joan’s daughter Leslie, were charter members of the Rotary Club of St. John. Joan became a member of the club in 2004 and has been its President 3 times. Joan joined the board of directors of Pine Peace School when grandson, Ganson, was in kindergarten at the school. She remained on the board until Gifft Hill School and Pine Peace School merged, and Ganson was an adult. Joan was treasurer of the Friends of the National Park and has served on its board for many years, volunteering to keep records of the helpers excavating two digs of Tiano Indian relics at Cinnamon Bay. Joan & Ed owned the “Pizzeria on St. John” for five years before they turned it over to son-in-law Ronnie and it became Ronnie’s Pizza and Mo. She has been a member of The Historical Society for many years.