Honoring Joan Strong Buell


Candles, photos, and a hand-lettered sign reading: in loving memory of Joan S. Buell, 11-11-32 to 8-19-23

 Joan Strong Buell

 November 11, 1932 – August 19, 2023

Forever in our hearts and in the spirit of Hopewell House

It is with profound love and emotion that we inform our Hopewell House community of the passing of Joan Strong Buell. As the founder of Hospice House (later renamed Hopewell House) in 1986, she brought a vision and mission to Portland that had never been seen before. Her perseverance, dedication, and commitment to a loving, present, and holistic dying experience was a guiding light through Hopewell’s 30 year history.   

Through each iteration of Hopewell’s ownership, Joan was omnipresent. Her words, her wisdom, her humor, and her voice permeate throughout the walls of this home. Meeting Joan felt like meeting a sage; a special energy and light encompassed her. She was a mentor, a leader, and for us at Hopewell House, our North Star.

We are saddened to know that we will not see her walk through the halls of Hopewell House again, but we are filled with gratitude that we had the opportunity to know and work with her. She is forever in our hearts and minds, and her legacy will live on. We are sending our love to the entire Buell family.

On behalf of the Board, staff, and volunteer community,
Sarah Newhall, Board President
Lesley Sacks, Executive Director

We are pleased to share that, with the blessing of Joan and Tom’s children Hester, Thomas, and Dexter, the Friends of Hopewell House staff and Board of Directors are establishing The Joan Strong and Thomas Cochran Buell Memorial Fund to honor both Joan and Tom’s decades-long history of service, education, and inspiration in improving end-of-life experiences.

And we invite you to consider celebrating Joan and Tom with a donation to the Fund. Each year, the Hopewell House team will put dollars from the Fund toward the highest needs at Hopewell. For the next few years, we expect the greatest need to be providing financial assistance for those who require support to be at Hopewell House for their final days.
To donate to the fund, you may click here to do so online, and in the dropdown “Designation” menu, please select “Joan Strong and Thomas Cochran Buell Fund”. If sending a check, please denote your dedication in the memo line so that we can direct it to the fund and notify the family.
Thank you for the myriad ways that you have supported Joan’s work over the years, and for your partnership in keeping her legacy thriving at Hopewell House for those to come.