Joan Carter, 86, of South Egremont, fashion executive

South Egremont — Joan Carter of South Egremont died December 12, 2017 just as she had lived, with sophistication, style, serenity and a sense of inner peace, surrounded by friends of her long lifetime, after an unexpected infection which followed successful surgery.

Joan Carter

Our Joan was born on February 21, 1931 in White Fish, Montana, and raised in Carmel, California, by her mother, Phyllis Carter, and her adoring stepfather. As a threesome, they skipped through life, grateful that they had, at last, found the definition of True Family. After her Dad died, Joan and Phyllis were inseparable, although for five decades, Joan’s days were occupied by high-level positions with Conde Nast, Carter Hawley Hale, Calvin Klein, Gucci Europe, Scripps-Howard and the Sonoma County Wine Association. But she always, always found time to travel the world with her mother, until Phyllis died in 1991.

Ironic that Joan was such a stand-out in the world of fashion, because at heart, Joan was simply a lover of nature. And she was passionate about the humane treatment of animals, as she counted amongst her closest family and friends, Charlie, a West Highland Terrier who died in 2017, and Scooter, a marvelous mix who survives her. And who will always miss her.

As an early innovator and a fast-moving fashion executive, Joan held many positions at the highest levels of publishing and fashion, both in Los Angeles and New York. For decades, her insights and her instincts set style trends in fashion and home that still impact our culture, today. With a talented and tight design staff, populated by the likes of Lucinda Fenn and Sandra Constantine, Joan spearheaded the private label division for Carter Hawley Hale Department Stores, the parent company of Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus and Holt Renfrew to name a few.

Joan and her mother, Phyllis, moved to South Egremont in the early 1980s from Greenwich, Connecticut and New York City. And though Carmel’s gentle breezes always lingered in their memories, the two of them adored the Berkshires. Partly because so many of their dear friends also loved the Berkshires and settled here.

In her last decade, Joan could not say “no” to her deeply rooted retail gene. Thus, she joined the team at the Millerton Antiques Center in Millerton, New York, to open a small booth that delighted shoppers and browsers with her expert eye. The Millerton Antiques Center is a collective of antiques enthusiasts, all of whom have said that Joan’s presence will be missed each and every day.

Joan will also be deeply missed by her family of friends, including Mickey Fierman, Lucinda Vermeulen, Karen Faul, Gene Faul, Sandra Constantine, Peggy Matthews, Rosemary Kuropat, Susan Slover and Scooter. And we will all, always, always, be grateful to Joan’s family doctor and friend, Dr. Lara Setti, whose care and talent as a physician and a humanist were a great comfort to us all.

Good-bye, Dear Joan…travel safe and watch for our arrivals in years to come. In ways, you were always ahead of your time. But to be honest, we would always, always wish for more time with you on this earth.

FINNERTY & STEVENS FUNERAL HOME in Great Barrington is caring for the arrangements. To leave remembrances about Joan please visit