An Obituary: Joanna (Doob) Nickerson

Joanna (Doob) Nickerson, 79, Bedford’s first assistant town manager, died Tuesday at Lahey Hospital.

A memorial service is being planned for Nov. 5 at 10:30 a.m. at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 100 Pine Hill Road, where she was active since the late 1970s. The service will conclude with the interment of her remains in the church’s memorial garden. A reception in the parish hall will follow.

“Joanna served Bedford for about 27 years in the selectmen/town administrator/manager’s office,” recalled retired Town Manager Rick Reed, who promoted her to the assistant position. “She was very dedicated to all things Bedford and was a steady presence in the office, serving three administrator/managers — including me for my first 20 years.” 

Headshot of woman
Joanna Nickerson, Bedford’s first assistant town manager died on Tuesday, October 18, 2022.

“She was knowledgeable and always helpful to citizens and members of town boards in dealing with the complexity of local government,” said Betsey Anderson, former selectman, and town moderator. “She was at once both professional and sensitive, and she made lifelong friends in the process. People remember and cherish her personal kindness even when working on difficult and often controversial issues.”

“She was knowledgeable; she cared and she would always help anyone in need,” agreed Judy Barber, former selectman and planning board member. “Her sense of humor lightened the way. Joanna was a very special person and outstanding town employee.”

“I benefited from her good counsel, advice, and institutional knowledge immensely over the years,” added Reed. 

Former selectman and planning board member Angelo Colao said, “Learning of Joanna’s passing was so sad, however, the memories I have working with her for Bedford are so joyful. Her calm and happy personality, her intelligence and knowledge, her desire to do the best for Bedford and its residents were exceptional. She handled any difficult situations with poise. Memories of her and her smile always bring a smile to my face.

She was particularly focused on Bedford’s affordable housing initiatives, and also was active with the Friends of the Library.  

“We met at St. Paul’s Church, where she served in various roles – teacher, vestry member, and choir member, to name a few,” Anderson said. “As a selectman and as moderator, I deeply appreciated her support and help on so many levels.  Personally, I miss her and our close friendship of so many years.  She was always thoughtful and ready to help and support me and my family.”

“Many of us were touched by the way Joanna’s faith nurtured in her a rare depth of kindness, generosity of spirit, and gentleness,” wrote the Rev. Chris Wendell, rector, in a message to the congregation. “She was quick to forgive and always willing to try and see situations from multiple perspectives.” 

A link to Mrs. Nickerson’s notice from Bedford Funeral home can be found here.

[Updated 10/21/2022: Please note that the service will be held on Saturday, November 5. We apologize for any confusion and inconvenience.]


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John Mitchell
John Mitchell
1 month ago

Please be advised that Ms. Nickerson’s memorial service in on Saturday, November 5th, and not, as implied by the article, on October 22nd.

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