In Memory of

Pearl

Josephine

(Hand)

Field

Obituary for Pearl Josephine (Hand) Field

Pearl Josephine (Hand) Field died peacefully on January 17, 2024 at her home in Essex Junction, Vermont. She was 92. “PJ”, the daughter of Lula Emerald Quimby and Earl Joseph Hand, was born September 4, 1931 in Sapulpa, Oklahoma. Her twin brother died in infancy but tiny Pearl fought with determination to survive. After her parents separated, “PJ” and her siblings were raised in Craig, Missouri by a hardworking single mother during the Great Depression. The family survived on their large garden. They bartered goods in exchange for her mother’s midwifery and practical nursing services. PJ was a spunky child, once crawling under a train to get home in a hurry. She told stories of bringing her own popcorn to the movie theater on Saturday nights to cheer loudly for Joe Lewis in the newsreels. She and a friend once added a touch of lace to their flour sack dresses, grabbed stick microphones and climbed on a rock to entertain the neighborhood with their version of the Andrews Sisters. During high school in Mound City, Missouri, PJ worked the counter at a coffee shop. So began her lifetime fondness for fresh coffee and spirited conversation.

In 1952, PJ met Roland Field at a local dance, while he was home on leave from the Korean War. They married on May 22, 1955, when Roland completed his engineering degree from the University of Missouri, and the couple moved to Kansas City. They spent several months in New York City in 1957, living at the Alamac Hotel while Roland received training. PJ found a job in the detail office at JC Penney where she was thrilled to meet Mr. Penney. As a small town girl, she always remembered those exciting months in the big city. Returning to Kansas City, PJ and Roland bought their first home and started a family. Rhonda was born in 1957 and Richard in 1963. In the fall of 1963, AT&T transferred Roland to the east coast. They settled briefly in New Providence, NJ. Then in 1965, they moved to Riverside, CT where they remained until Roland’s retirement in 1984. During those years, PJ was a full-time mother, PTA class mother and a morning regular at the local coffee shop. The family attended the First Congregational Church of Old Greenwich. PJ “adopted” a series of older women in town, assisting them with errands and providing companionship. The benefits were mutual as Mrs. Gale, living across the street, became a substitute mother and grandmother figure. During those middle years, PJ enjoyed cooking, antiquing, summer travel and bargain hunting. When her children left home, PJ found fulfilling work at Sunny Hill, a day treatment center for children with autism in Greenwich, CT. Roland and PJ moved back to Missouri in 1984, settling in Monett on the edge of the Ozarks. They spent the next 14 years travelling with their Avion trailer club, enjoying weekends at the lake with PJ’s sister and brother-in-law, meeting acquaintances for morning coffee, and spoiling their 4 grandchildren as often as possible.

Roland passed away in 1998 at the young age of 70 but PJ carried on with determination and grace. She discovered a new coffee shop “family” in Springfield, MO where she met her friends every morning to laugh and tell stories. In her later years, PJ moved to Vermont to be near her daughter. Cheering for Tom Brady and visiting with her three Vermont great grandchildren brought her joy.

PJ is survived by her daughter Rhonda Dinwiddie of Underhill, VT, her son Richard Field of Pleasant Hope, MO, 4 grandchildren (Jessica Pileggi, David Dinwiddie, Patrick Field, Kathryn Field), 5 great grandchildren, a niece and two nephews. She was predeceased by her husband Roland, sister Earleen Haer, brother Clarence Hand, and twin brother Earl Joseph Hand.

Services will be private and at the convenience of the family.