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Joan Ann (Capezza) Topalian

November 19, 1941 ~ April 16, 2022 (age 80)

Obituary

Joan A. Topalian (Capezza) of Narragansett accepted the Lord's invitation on Saturday, April 16, 2022, while surrounded by her family at Rhode Island Hospital. 

A truly unforgettable, inspirational, exceptional and beloved daughter, sister, friend, nurse, mother, aunt, inventor and grandmother. 

A Manhattan native, Joan moved to Rhode Island when she was sixteen. Upon graduating East Providence High School in 1958 she enrolled in the Cape Cod Hospital School of Nursing.  Joan graduated with an LPN degree in 1960 and  was immediately hired at Rhode Island Hospital. She worked every floor before joining the Pediatric Intensive Care (PIC) Unit until retirement in 1992.  Shortly thereafter, she briefly joined the clinical staff of Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston.

Joan's in-depth medical knowledge, extensive pediatric nursing experience, solid commitment to patient safety and creative problem solving lead her to invent a durable medical equipment product for which the United States Patent Trade Office issued her a design patent. Joan's invention was selected for exhibition at the  Invention Convention in Boston and showcased on the People are Talking television show with host Tom Bergeron.  This patent was the first of several she would go on to receive for product designs evolving from her unique ideas.

A highly creative individual, Joan relentlessly persevered with the development of each invention. She stayed the course despite naysayers. A great lesson in the importance of strongly believing in and advocating for oneself.

Joan revealed her inner strength to an even greater degree when she underwent emergency surgery and subsequent hospitalization. A relentless fighter who fought hard around the clock for 18 days. She defied many odds gifting her children with additional precious time to love her. Joan strived to prevail and at times had surprised even some of the medical professionals. 

Joan's family would like to thank her close friends Donna Travers of Swansea, MA, Nancy Urban of Warren, RI and Lori Snell Arias of Smithfield,RI; Pastoral Blessings received by Rev. Fr. Kapriel Nazarian of Sts. Vartanantz Church in Providence and Resurrection Sunday Easter message by Pastor Robert R. McLaughlin of Grace Bible Church in Somerset, MA, the many exemplary North Providence First Responders and Rhode Island Hospital medical staff who provided the best possible emergency and post-surgical care available to Joan. Specifically, the physicians, physician assistants, nurses and CNAs of Rhode Island Hospital's emergency neuro-surgical team, neuro critical care team and 8A neurology team. 

Those who were fortunate to receive Joan's loyal friendship and selfless love are truly lucky. A great listener who always prioritized others. She never turned her back on anyone for any reason whatsoever. Joan genuinely valued people and was quick to offer help. A cheerleader for underdogs. She enthusiastically encouraged others to pursue their big dreams and take chances. Joan seldom retreated away from a challenge. Instead, she would bravely face difficulties head on.  A remarkable example of how to courageously hold your own. She never gave up, a fighter through and through.

Joan is predeceased by her parents William A. Capezza and Esther (Deutsch) Capezza and her sister Rosemary T. Rapoza.  Survived by her sisters Estelle M. Yoakum of Merriam, Kansas and Rose Marie Traina of Las Vegas, her daughters Virginia Topalian of Narragansett, Kara Parrillo (William) of Warwick, Joan Topalian of North Providence and Kerri Topalian of Warwick. Grandmother of Nicholas L. Parrillo of Warwick, Aunt to John Yoakum (Kristi) of Smithfield, Dan Yoakum (Nancy) of Merriam, KS, Michael (Amy) of Georgia and Stephen (Jennifer) of Topeka, KS; Louise Hindman (Kurt) of East Providence, Rosemary Rapoza of Warwick, Robert Rapoza (Lorie) of Barrington, Michael Rapoza (Martha) of Warwick, Cathryn Vasconcelos (Henrique) of East Providence;  Lisa Traina and Vincent (Jessica) Traina and numerous great nieces and nephews.

Memorial will be private. Celebration of Life to be held at a later date.

Joan was a Friend of Hasbro Children's Hospital. Therefore, in lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations to be made in Joan's name to the Families Assistance Fund at Hasbro Children's Hospital, 593 Eddy Street, Providence, RI 02903.

 

 

 

 

 

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