Peconic Landing residents Edward and Joan (Powers) Porco died within a few days of each other as a result of the COVID-19 virus. Edward died March 24, 2020, at Southampton Hospital. Joan died March 28 at Stony Brook Eastern Long Island Hospital. He was 89; she was 90.
Joan was born Feb. 22, 1930, in Brooklyn to Maurice and Rebecca Steinberg. She grew up in Brooklyn and West Palm Beach, Fla. She earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from New York University, a master’s degree in social work from Adelphi University and a post-graduate certification from The Gestalt Center of Long Island. Joan was a journalist, social worker, teacher, gestalt psychotherapist, poet and author.
She was a member of the community relations committee of Concerned Citizens of Montauk. A lifelong political and civil rights activist, she authored numerous articles, columns and poems in local East End papers and The New York Times. She published a volume of poetry, “Gaudeamus,” as well as “Holding Back the Tide: The Thirty-five Year Struggle to Save Montauk — A History of the Concerned Citizens of Montauk.”
Joan was predeceased by her daughter Elizabeth Powers Pentz, and is survived by her children (and Edward’s stepchildren) Julia Chachere of Sag Harbor and Matthew Chachere of Brooklyn as well as a sister, Ina Rifkin of Boulder, Colo. Edward is survived by his daughter, Elizabeth Lycke of Montauk, and his sister, Gloria Gentile of Port Jefferson. Joan and Ed were adored by their five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Edward was born Sept. 6, 1930, in the Bronx, to Peter and Maria Teresa Porco. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business from City College of New York and worked as a commodities broker for E.F. Hutton, Bache & Co. and others. At the age of 59, he returned to university to earn a master’s degree in liberal arts from The New School for Social Research in New York City.
He was a passionate lifelong learner and sat on the Council for Lifetime Learning at Peconic Landing as well as teaching courses in history and politics for the program.
Edward was a champion for the preservation of Montauk and environmental conservation in general. He was a longtime board member and past president of Concerned Citizens of Montauk, and served two terms as president of East Hampton Trails Preservation Society from 2005 to 2011. A popular hike leader, Ed led hiking trips for preservation society members to Costa Rica, Tuscany, New Zealand, the Cotswolds, Patagonia and Croatia.
Edward and Joan were married Nov. 18, 1977. Both had previous marriages that ended in divorce. Before moving to Peconic Landing in Greenport in 2015 they resided in Montauk, N.Y. for many years and prior to that in Port Washington, N.Y.
Joan and Ed shared a lifelong passion for classical music, hiking, travel, political activism, their family and their beloved Montauk. They brought tremendous joy and a sense of celebration into the life they shared together and to the many lives that they touched. Their deep love and respect for each other sustained and nurtured them through good times and hard times and was born of great friendship, trust and respect for their differentness. Their home in Montauk was named Gaudeamus, which translates from Latin to “let us rejoice.” This they did in abundance.
A celebration of their lives will take place at a future date by the ocean in their beloved Montauk.
Memorial donations may be made to Concerned Citizens of Montauk, P.O. Box 915, Montauk, NY 11954.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Edward & Joan Porco, please visit our floral store.