Cover photo for Johanna Agnes Prindiville's Obituary
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1935 Johanna 2022

Johanna Agnes Prindiville

August 26, 1935 — March 22, 2022

The world is quieter after the death of Johanna (Scanlon) Prindiville on March 22, 2022, in Bozeman, MT.

Johanna was born on August 24, 1935, in County Cork, Ireland, to Richard and Nora Scanlon. To hear her tell it (and, if you knew Johanna, you heard her tell it), her early years were idyllic ones, marred only by the death of her mother in 1943. In 1948, her father collected the remaining siblings, Patrick, Johanna, and Mary, and brought them to America. While her father got settled, Johanna and Mary lived at the Daly Industrial School in Dorchester, MA, run by the Catholic Church. Her father later remarried his former sister-in-law Nell, and Johanna joined a blended family of six rambunctious teens in Somerville, MA. She graduated from Somerville High School and went on to study secretarial skills at Bryant and Stratton.

At the age of 21 (i.e., as soon as possible), in what she called the best move she ever made, she left Somerville for San Diego, CA, where she worked as an executive secretary in the aeronautics industry. While she didn’t marry the movie star she’d hoped to, she made a lifetime of good friends and enjoyed an exciting, fun-filled life there. It was in San Diego where she met and married Gerald Prindiville and gave birth to Julie Ann and Laura Marie.

When Gerry was released from the Navy, they moved to Wisconsin, his home state, settling eventually in Green Bay, where they adopted their third child, Curtis. She was a stay-at-home mom, known for her prolific gardens, free-range parenting style, and vaguely hippie tendencies, including playing the guitar for sing-along folk masses at Community of Pope John XXIII. She was an active volunteer, especially focused on social justice and political activism.

After she and Gerry divorced in 1979, she proudly realized her lifelong ambition of getting a college degree, graduating with honors from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. She then began her professional career as the Foundation Manager for the Fort Howard Paper Company. In 1986, she moved back to Somerville to be closer to family, working until she retired in 1999 for the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Quality. During this time, she travelled extensively, often with her daughter Julie, which provided endless fodder for her stories.

In 2003, ‘the second-best move of my life,’ she packed her bags and moved to Bozeman, MT, where Laura lived with her husband and two young sons. A lifelong Catholic, Johanna attended Holy Rosary Church on Saturday afternoons and as a long-time progressive, the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship on Sunday mornings; her family will always be grateful for the supportive and deep community of the UUFB. She was a regular feature at the local Dem’s coffee hour, served on the board at the Bozeman Senior Center, performed with the Last Best Geri-Actors, was an active volunteer, attended two book clubs and a writers’ group. She never missed a school performance by her grandchildren and always had a chocolate bar tucked in her pocket for them when it was over.

More than anything else, Johanna was a storyteller, stories of all sorts. She self-published three memoirs of her childhood in Ireland and her life in Wisconsin and Montana (though reader beware: she steadfastly refused to let facts get in the way of a good story). She had a seemingly endless supply of Irish jokes and bawdy jokes and Irish bawdy jokes. She loved to share extensive stories about her grandchildren, her nieces and nephews, and sometimes the children and neighbors of people you’d never met. No matter. She could tell you the plot of every book she’d ever read.

She was a woman of strong passions, a proud Irishwoman, a terrible cook, a prolific writer, a generous entertainer, and a loyal friend. She was fierce, stubborn, irreverent, and wickedly funny, the life of every party she attended. No one who met Johanna will ever forget her. We will never stop missing her.

She leaves behind her sister Mary Connor of Groveland, MA, children, Julie of Denver, CO, Laura (Kirk Branch) of Bozeman, MT, and Curtis of Eau Claire, WI, grandchildren Seamus and Graham Branch, Sean (Jessie), Cashell (Jeff), Brittaney (Matthew), Nakesha, Rylee and Jayden Prindiville, countless relatives and so many dear friends.

A celebration of life will take place in Montana later this summer. Memorials to honor Johanna may be sent to Hopa Mountain (234 E Babcock, Bozeman, MT, 59715, (, a local nonprofit committed to providing support for tribal and rural youth throughout Montana or the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (, a nonprofit, nonsectarian organization advancing human rights together with an international community of grassroots partners and advocates.



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