Joan A. “Red” (Adshead) Polakowski, 78

AUBURN — Joan A. “Red” (Adshead) Polakowski, 78, passed away peacefully in the loving presence of her husband James R. Polakowski, on Monday, January 18, 2021, in the comfort of their home.

She leaves their son, Timothy J. Polakowski, of Campbell, CA; her siblings: Jane McGrath, of Worcester, Richard “Rick” Adshead and his wife Darcy, of Arizona, and Tom Adshead, of Florida; her brother-in-law, Philip Polakowski and his wife Renee, of West Boylston; her nieces and nephews: Megan and Ian McGrath, of Worcester, Damien Adshead, of Auburn, Aaron Adshead, of Florida, and Christopher, Justin, Lucas, James, and Evan Polakowski, of West Boylston; as well as many friends and neighbors who were with her for her 10-plus years of suffering. Joan was predeceased by her daughter, Kristin Marie Polakowski, and her parents, Richard and Constance (Brissette) Adshead.

Born in Worcester and raised, educated in Auburn, Joan was a 1961 graduate of Auburn High School. She then attended Worcester State University, where she received her Bachelor’s degree in Education, and later, her Master’s. Joan married the love of her life, James, on November 21, 1964 and shared the next 56 years together in Auburn; she also spanned her 42 year-long career in teaching in the Auburn Public Schools.

Joan loved going to her West Dennis Cape house and walking on the beaches on Dennis. She was an avid bookworm, and loved watching her nieces and nephews at their sports games. Joan adored her miniature black poodles: Tanya, Sasha, and Tia.

Joan’s family wishes to thank all the wonderful nurses and home healthcare workers from JHC Hospice, especially Meg, Joyce, Becky, Nana, Emily, and all the ‘M’ team, along with Jennifer from Guardian Angels Healthcare.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Michael J. Fox Foundation, Donation Processing, P.O. Box 5014, Hagerstown, MD 21741-5014 (

Relatives and friends are invited to Joan’s funeral Mass, which will be celebrated at 10:00 AM on Friday, January 22, 2021 at St. Joseph’s Church, 189 Oxford Street N., Auburn, MA. Burial will be held privately for her family. The Britton-Wallace Funeral Home, Auburn, is honored to be assisting with arrangements.


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