September  2016, 6 weeks after she was diagnosed.
Joan Marie Ranta
  • 65 years old
  • Date of birth: Feb 21, 1951
  • Place of birth:
    Fort William, Ontario, Canada
  • Date of passing: Jan 20, 2017
  • Place of passing:
    Fresno, California, United States
Joan's Legacy will Live on Forever. Her Spirit is with us Always. Please leave a story, tribute, photo or video Honoring Joan's Legacy & Spirit.

This memorial website was created in memory of Joan: a loving, patient, kind and terrific wife, a wonderful mother, grandmother, aunt, friend and co-worker.

She will be missed but her legacy will live on forever.

We met at a college dance; she had just turned 19, I was still 18.  I saw her and knew I had to ask her to dance.  She said, "Maybe later."  I took that as a yes and asked her later.  Three months later we knew we were meant for each other and were going to get married.

We had 45 terrific years together.  She was my best friend. We would say that "the two of us made a whole person."  That's how well we fit together. I became a much better person because of her.  In fact, everyone she met became a better person because of her.  That is her legacy.

She set an example for everyone she met. She was always sought after for advice from relatives, friends, co-workers and people she just met.  People would tell her their troubles.  It was if she had a "P" for psychiatrist on her forehead.  She had a "magic" backpack and told everyone that she would put all their troubles and problems in it, zip it up; it was confidential.  They trusted her and trusted her advice.  I never knew what was in that backpack.   

She helped me become a better person.  She helped me improve my communication skills:  that's a story all by itself.  She introduced me to Men Are From Mars, Yoga and the Enneagram. All led us on a beautiful, spiritual journey to growth individually and as a couple.  

She will always be with me in my heart and in my soul. We both believe that we will meet again.  The wisdom of the Enneagram confirms this for us.  The last book we read together really confirmed it for us:  "Many Lives, Many Spirits", by Dr. Brian Weiss.  I have felt her presence many times as have many of her close friends.

I miss her a lot. Early on in our marriage, she said she would die before me.  She mentioned it many times through the years;  it was if she somehow knew in advance.  She had a favorite song from the play, Pippen, called "Corner of the Sky".  In 1975 I had someone write it out in calligraphy and framed it.  It makes more sense know:

"Rivers belong where they can ramble,
 Eagles belong where they can fly,
 I've got to be where my spirit can run free,
 Got to find my corner of the sky,
 So many men/women seem destined
 To settle for something small,
 But I won't rest until I've had it all,
 So don't ask where I'm going,
 Just listen when I'm gone,
 And far away you'll hear me singing softly to the dawn.

 Rivers belong where they can ramble,
 Eagles belong where they can fly,
 I've got to be where my spirit can run free,
 Go to find my corner of the sky."          

She has found her corner of the sky. Somehow she knew she was going there. Very powerful stuff.  

Joan donated her body to the UC Medical School in Davis, California for research.  She said it was her legacy.  She was right.  When we discussed this, I told her that her legacy was more than that.   

I am her legacy.  Our 2 boys and our grand children are her legacy.  The people she met, affected and impacted are her legacy.  She was a powerful woman and an example of how to live life here on earth.  

This website is an opportunity for you to share what Joan's legacy is for you.  How did she affect you?  How did she impact your life?  Please share your stories, photos or videos and publish them on this website.     

There will be:
           A Celebration of Life Honoring Joan's Legacy.  

               I would like to incorporate your stories into that celebration.
                             Your stories will be put into a booklet 
                          that will be given to those attending the
                             Celebration Honoring Joan's Legacy.

         The Celebration is Saturday, June 17 at 1:00 p.m.

Location:  Sunnyside Tennis & Health Club   
                  5707 E. Balch Ave.,
                  Fresno, California 93727

    There will be finger food, dessert, coffee, iced tea, soda, water, 
         and of course Champagne to celebrate Joan's legacy.

                                      Music of course.  
              And there will be time for you to share 
                   your story/stories about Joan.

Thanks for reading and thanks for adding your stories about Joan to this website. I truly appreciate it.  She helped a lot of people.  I'm looking forward to hearing how she helped you.  

Your story will help others heal as well as inspire others to incorporate Joan's Legacy into their lives, making this world a better place. 



Memorial Tributes
This tribute was added by Lola Gallegos on 20th May 2017

"Joanie was my 'watching' the boys play tennis pal. We would sit and visit, watch, laugh at something silly.  She was easy to be with, loved, loved, her Ray and her children.  Always had something positive to say, never a negative. She would laugh at my trying to coach the guys, and we laughed ourselves silly once when I was 'supposedly' caught in the act.  She enjoyed her getaways to the desert with her family. The Ranta family enjoyed their togetherness-they seemed complete. Ray, she is missed, but I feel blessed to have been even a small part of her life. Keep her memories ever present. Curt and I will continue to keep you and your family in our thoughts and prayers."

This tribute was added by Brenda Mason on 20th May 2017

"One never thinks that your friend is no longer here. Knowing Joan since nursing training and living in the same residence, it's been awhile. Remembering her contagious laugh and that little smirk she had....the crazy times growing up together...the lunches and rides..meeting you Ray was the love of her life. She couldn't figure out why you wanted to marry her, But you got her and what a life! What a beautiful life! She'll always be with us....sending love to you Ray and the boys and their families."

This tribute was added by Cheryl Hartshorn on 20th May 2017

"Ahh, Joan.  I met Joan at church.  We shared music ministry for many years.   No one does a tambourine like Joan!   I loved our friendship.  We would go to lunch every month or so to just visit, share family news, and celebrate friendship.  I truly miss her—she was a great friend.  We are all better for having had Joan in our lives."

This tribute was added by Loretta Tedesco Notto on 7th May 2017

"My condolences to the family. Joan is a cousin through the Bortolon family. Unfortunately I never had the opportunity to meet her.

May she rest in peace."

This tribute was added by Marianne Schoales on 4th May 2017

"Say hello to all those we have lost Joan.....we love and miss you all !!!!!"

This tribute was added by Marianne Schoales on 4th May 2017

"As I reflect on the life of my dear friend, and cousin I can remember the smile, heart, and compassion of a wonderful woman. She was always the cousin we always looked up to. She was tough, smart and full of wisdom. She always had the right answer for any question and lived life to the fullest......right to the end. She handled her illness with dignity that we all wish we had even a portion of"

This tribute was added by wilma welch on 4th May 2017

"To the family of Joan,
When I first met Joan, it was like catching up with an old friend. She was my supervisor on some cases I worked. I always looked forward to her visits, we would talk and laugh about so many things, our jobs, our families, and our daily lives. I couldn't believe how much alike we thought about so many things. We laughed about some of the similar things we went through raising our children. If I was busy when she made her visits, she would jump in and help me, she never made me feel uncomfortable or like I didn't know what I was doing. I always felt I could ask her anything and she wouldn't make me feel stupid for asking. She always said we were of the old school because we saw things differently, when my husband passed away she was a comfort to me, she checked on me as soon as she heard I had TIA. She would come early to open a new case I was to work on so I wouldn't miss any time. She inspired me to always do more than was expected of me, I have lost a dear friend who I miss terribly. She was an awesome lady, I want to thank her family for sharing her with me, she has made my life richer for knowing her and I will never forget her. Love Wilma"

This tribute was added by Dorothy Nunes on 2nd May 2017

"Dear Ray, Neil, Dani, Carley, Carter, Andrew and Kristi
I write this with great sadness over the unimaginable loss of an amazing friend to cancer.
She fought a brave and strong battle but the cancer would not allow her to get better. She took each day in stride, never really complaining, feeling tired and always hoping that the treatments would finally end so she could get on with her life. This was my hope too.
A beautiful woman, inside and out.  I always admired how she never judged or forced her opinions on anyone, but offered valuable and truthful advice that I will surely miss.  
Love in friendship,

This tribute was added by Dorothy Nunes on 2nd May 2017

"This tribute is from Bob O'Neill - neighbor and great friend
Dear Ray,
Your tribute to Joan just about says it all.  When it comes to helping others, there are various categories and types in society - in both resources and willingness.  Some have resources to burn but could not care less about anyone but themselves.  In the willingness department, others are more than willing to help but lack the resources.  Then you have those who fall in between in various places.  Joan was unique.  She excelled in both the resource AND willingness aspects.  She was certainly there for me on a couple of occasions when I had a medical issue  She also gave me a few rides when I needed to pick up my car at a repair shop. She was a wonderful wife, a great neighbor and a true friend.  I, for one, already miss her and will to continue to do so.
Your Friend,
Bob O'Neill"

This tribute was added by Arvindraj Nigam on 1st May 2017

"Dear Ray,
This is a wonderful thing you are doing to keep her memory alive, clearly your pain shows, its apparent you have issues of letting her go, rightfully so. In the cosmic realm of time, we get but one speck, your attempt to transcend this into infinity might just work for you. While the rest of us lesser mortals are still trying to make sense of life. I have had the pleasure of only meeting you and partaking in your sorrow and your loss. The pictures help me meet her.  Keep on the Good work.
With great regard ....Arvind"

This tribute was added by Mary Isquierdo on 30th April 2017

"This tribute is beautiful! Joan who was beautiful inside and out would appreciate it. She will be forever loved and missed. Both of you were meant to be! I love the poem by Carley, she is truly remarkable. Sending love and blessings your way."

This tribute was added by Scott Wheeless on 29th April 2017

"Hey Ray
We heard Joan was not doing well a while back but only heard recently she passed. Our hearts and thoughts are with you. Joan--always the professional, was working at St Agnes Hospital both times when my boys were born. She knew Andrea before her deliveries. And when paying a visit bringing the boys into the room, would still ask for the "Mom" to recite the #'s from the armband. I always thought that was a great work ethic by Joan, always the pro!"

This tribute was added by Cathy (Wilson)Swan on 28th April 2017

"HI Ray
I am sitting here at my desk at work with tears rolling down my cheeks. Sad but also Happy tears! I immensely enjoyed the pictures you have posted so far and look forward to seeing more. Joanie ( my big cousin )was a very special lady and family member Thanks for sharing with us"

This tribute was added by Rosie Aiello on 28th April 2017

"Ray, thank you for sharing this. I know Joan through you. She came through you each time we were together. It was so beautiful to witness the love you had for her and her for you. You've given your children and grandchildren such a blessing.  Yes, her legacy clearly lives on in you, your children, grandchildren and everyone she's touched, including me. Blessings and love to you and your family."

This tribute was added by Jon Block on 26th April 2017

"Thank you for sharing this with me, Ray. This is a beautiful tribute. I didn't get to meet Joan personally, yet I really get a strong sense of her incredible light. Your marriage is a huge inspiration for me & Roni. Much love, Jon"

This tribute was added by Jeanne Birnkrant on 25th April 2017

"Ray, What a beautiful tribute to Joan. The pictures show what a beautiful love you share and how loving she is with all she knew.  I know the love is still there and it is awesome that you and others she knew well can feel it.  Wish I could have met her.  Sending you and your family love."

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This memorial is administered by:

Ray Ranta


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