Joan Zimmerman Brinton, 83, horticultural volunteer

Joan Z. Brinton
Joan Z. Brinton
Posted: January 17, 2011

Joan Zimmerman Brinton, 83, a former key volunteer for the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society and other horticultural organizations in the region, died of pancreatic cancer Sunday, Jan. 9, at her home at Crosslands, the retirement community near Kennett Square.

Her husband, Edward, said that Mrs. Brinton was a member of the Horticultural Society Council in the 1980s and 1990s and a committee chairwoman for the society's premier event, the annual Philadelphia Flower Show.

Mrs. Brinton was from 1990 to 1996 president of the board of directors of the John Bartram Association, which operates, in cooperation with the Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation, the historic Bartram's Garden and House in Southwest Philadelphia.

A Bartram spokeswoman said that Mrs. Brinton had been an emeritus director since 1996.

She was also a board member from 1985 through 1991 at the Tyler Arboretum in Middletown Township, Delaware County, a Tyler spokeswoman said.

A member of the Philadelphia committee of the Garden Club of America since 1975, Mrs. Brinton was chairwoman of a few of its annual meetings.

Her husband said that the local organization gave her its Zone V award for horticultural excellence in 1982, its distinguished service award in 1987, its civic improvement award in 2000, and its medal of merit in 2007.

She was also a member of the West Chester Garden Club and the Herb Society of America.

At Birmingham Friends Meeting, she helped establish the Peace Center and Peace Garden. At Crosslands, she was a cochair of its horticulture-therapy committee.

A 1944 graduate of Westtown School, she earned a bachelor's degree in politics and economics cum laude at Bryn Mawr College in 1948.

Her husband said that when his work moved the family to North Carolina in the 1960s, she was a founding member of the Lenoir County Democratic Women's Club in Kinston and a founding member of the first integrated League of Women Voters there.

Besides her husband of 62 years, Mrs. Brinton is survived by sons Garrett and Christopher; a daughter, Mary Bryan; a brother; and seven grandchildren.

A memorial service was set for 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 22, at Birmingham Friends Meeting, South Birmingham Road near Thornbury Road.

Contact staff writer Walter F. Naedele at 215-854-5607 or at

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