Joan-McKechnie-webMELROSE — Joan E. (Cox) McKechnie, 71, a 48-year resident of Melrose, passed away peacefully surrounded by her loving family on Thursday, March 19.

Joan was born in Boston on July 6, 1943, one of two children of the late Arthur and Elizabeth (Gallagher) Cox. She was raised in Natick where she graduated from Natick High School, Class of 1961. She then graduated from LaSalle College in 1963, married her best friend and companion for life, Robert “Bob” McKechnie, on May 1, 1965, and settled in Melrose in 1967 to raise a family.

Joan worked for John Hancock Life Insurance Co. for over 20 years as an executive assistant. With her charm, intelligence and easy smile, she was a favorite employee and enjoyed her working career. More recently, she volunteered in the elections office for the city of Melrose.

Throughout her life, Joan had several interests that brought her much joy. She loved painting, especially with water colors, and took classes at the Milano Senior Center. As a member of the Melrose Garden Club, her other main passion was a love for gardening. She loved spending time growing, pruning, and arranging her many flowers from the yard. For over 20 years, she enjoyed being involved with the shows and productions at Sandra’s School of Dance in Saugus, where her daughters danced. She and Bob took dancing lessons at the Melrose YMCA, enjoyed many disco nights in the 70’s and ended many evenings sharing a dance in their living room. With all of her passions, the one constant was her family. She centered her life around her family, and included her husband, children, and grandchildren in all of her interests.

Joan and Bob made a loving, devoted couple everywhere they went. In particular, Joan loved vacationing on Cape Cod in Brewster, the Ellis Landing cottages and spending a week on Chebeague Island on Casco Bay in Maine. She also enjoyed many weekends at their summer cottage on Lake Wassookeag in Dexter, Maine. Vacations to Joan were family, collecting shells on the beach, reading a book and enjoying a glass of wine at the end of the day. She was most happy when surrounded by her family and friends.

Joan was a warm, sincere, and loving person who always knew the right thing to say to comfort her family and friends. She was a fantastic wife, mother, and especially cherished the time she spent with her grandchildren. Joan will be lovingly remembered by all who knew her and her love will live on in the hearts of family.

Joan was the beloved wife of Robert M. McKechnie, Jr., with whom she shared 50 years of marriage. She was the devoted mother of Denise A. Slane and her husband Robert B. of Saugus; and Andrea L. Mahoney and her husband James S. of Andover. She was the dear sister of the late Richard Cox and his surviving wife Susan of Mashpee; and sister-in-law of Paul McKechnie and his wife Claire of Medfield. She was the cherished grandmother of Madison Slane, Brianna Mahoney, and James Mahoney, Jr. She is also survived by several loving nieces and nephews.

Relatives and friends gathered in honor and remembrance of Joan’s life during visiting hours at the Robinson Funeral Home, 809 Main St., Melrose on Monday, March 23, and again on Tuesday, March 24 for her funeral service celebrated. Gifts in Joan’s memory may be made to the ALS Association, 320 Norwood Park S, 1st Fl., Norwood, MA 02062. For directions, online tribute or to share a memory, visit