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.
  • 65 years old
  • Born on February 21, 1951 in Fort William, Ontario, Canada.
  • Passed away on January 20, 2017 in Fresno, California, United States.

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 now:

"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. 



Posted by Sandra Sambueso on 15th August 2017
Joan entered our lives as my supervisor at maxim. She would come to my home and i so looked forward to her coming. We would laugh and talk and she felt like my own family. She treated my son with the highest respect and he loved joan. She even attended my mothers funeral in jan.2016 and stood up and called her grandma in a tribute to her i was so happy she did that. i couldnt even get up and say anything. I miss joan alot and im so glad god put her in my families life . i look at her pictures i have and she had a beauty to her untouched. Her smile was amazing. I love and miss you joan. Thank you for your friendship.
Posted by Ray Ranta on 17th June 2017
This tribute is from Catherine Gates. Joan was like a ray of sunshine and like a sister to me. We worked together at Maxim HealthCare and I will miss her so much - I loved Joan. She was so precious and shared her stories of trips and love of family with me. I will cherish her memory.
Posted by Christine Zaroski on 17th June 2017
I will always remember burning my toes on the hot concrete beside the pool in her backyard, the family get togethers, the stories and the laughs. But moreso I will remember an inspiring woman with a servant’s heart who was incapable of not offering help when she could provide it to anyone that might need it. She was translucent in her joy for life and she touched everyone she met in a positive manner. She will live on in my memory as an example of excellence in interaction and love that I can only hope to match in my own endeavors. Forever a shining, guiding light. - Terry Zaroski
Posted by Christine Zaroski on 17th June 2017
I honestly didn’t get a chance to know Joan that well but even so, she will have a lasting impression on my life. I can’t think of a time I spoke with Joan and walked away without a piece of invaluable advice. No matter what I was speaking with her about, she always had some of the most appropriate advice for me at the time. She didn’t offer advice in the same way an experienced person would typically tell a novice what is going to work.. Instead she listened to everything I had to say, understood what kind of advice I was looking for and offered helpful information that I obviously didn’t already have. Some of her support and advice, especially regarding our son, I have been able to pass along and help some others with! We didn’t live close and we were not in each other’s life until a few years ago, but I truly am grateful for all of our handshakes, our hugs and our chats. I loved watching Joan interact with our son Tanner, even when he was just a few weeks old. Everything about watching how naturally she swaddled Tanner up (into a burrito baby:)) and settled his crying was so perfect.
Posted by Carol Presley on 16th June 2017
Ray: Thank you for your beautiful sharing. Although I didn't know Joan for very long, her loving, honest, kind, courageous spirit touched me deeply. Her smile and encouragement meant so much to me. She will be forever loved and missed, but I know Joan is where her spirit can run free, singing to the dawn. Sending love and hugs to you, Carol
Posted by Jackie James on 13th June 2017
I worked night shift with Joan at SAMC years ago and during a very busy time when some nights we'd work 12 hrs straight thru without a break we were all wanting to quit! Joan came in one evening smiling and singing, "I'm going happily to work". As long as we had to be there anyway, might as well have a good attitude! She always did. Over the years I've said those same words when I know it's going to be a stressful day and I think about Joan and smile.
Posted by Elizabeth Betzenderfer on 13th June 2017
I worked with Joan over the past few years. She has always been someone that I have respected and admired. I enjoyed the times getting together outside of work and considered her my friend. Joan was a person that I could always come to for advice and help. Thank you Joan for all that you have done for me. Namaste, Elizabeth.
Posted by Debbie Opitz on 12th June 2017
Joanie; I can shed tears because you are gone Or I can smile because you have lived, My eyes filled with tears when I learned the news, I can close my eyes and pray that you will come back Or I can open my eyes and see all that you have left It brought back memories of how you touched my life, I idolized you when I was a child, I remember being at Nona and Nono’s and you sitting on the couch with your glass of milk My heart can be empty because I can't see you Or it can be full of the love that you shared You were beautiful and pure to me, just like the milk, I looked up to you I can turn my back on tomorrow and live yesterday Or I can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday I can remember you and know that you are gone and I can cherish your memory and let it live on I feel I became a nurse because of you. Your strength, your character, your wisdom, I admired you and wanted to be like you. I can cry and close my mind, be empty and turn my back Or I can do what you would want: smile, open my eyes, love and go on. I am a better person for having you in my life, a better nurse. How lucky I am to have known someone so special Though we weren’t close you have touched my life significantly. And you will be missed.
Posted by Monica Stiffler on 9th June 2017
The first thing I think of when I think of Joan is her smile. Whenever I was around her she was smiling. The first word that comes to mind is kind. She had this way about her that just radiated from her and instantly made you feel comfortable. I looked forward to seeing her on Sunday morning. You are missed. Love always, Monica
Posted by David&Carol Boos on 7th June 2017
Some of our fondest memories of Joan are from the late 80's and early 90's when we lived next door: sharing holiday gatherings, our boys playing together, playing games and cards, going on some road trips, being introduced to and getting to know her parents. She had so many positive qualities and made the world a better place.
Posted by Charles Pakchoian on 6th June 2017
Hello Ray, While I never actually met Joan, I spoke with her several times over the past 6-7 years. After my aunt, Vonnie, had her accident and spent time in the hospital and rehab, Joan was constantly checking in on her and offering advice and comfort. Even though the two of you had only recently moved to be a neighbor, you both quickly became very good friends to Vonnie. It was a comfort to me, being my aunt's only relative in the area and working out of town, to know she had another trusted friend nearby that would be there if needed. I'm sure she is in a better place, running free.
Posted by Janene Cagle on 6th June 2017
As one of Ray's tennis partners, Joan was always supportive and upbeat--just like everything else in her life. I loved hearing the courtship stories--both sides, very funny. They always spoke as being true soulmates and I absolutely believe that to be true. And I believe I remember that America was one of their favorite groups "Sister Golden Hair Surprse" a favorite song. I was devastated when Ray told me Joan had passed; was in tears by the time I got to the car. I think Ray is spot-on about their souls being joined forever. Souls go on forever so Joanie is only a thought away. Still, she will be greatly missed.
Posted by Janice Koehler on 30th May 2017
I really didn't know Joan all that well, but when I did see her she was always gracious and friendly. Ray and I were doubles partners for a team out of Sierra Raquet Club and we went to Reno to play as a team. Ray and I were the deciding match for the win and when we pulled it off I ran to Ray and jumped up in his arms with my legs around his waist. Joan was on the side lines rooting us on and she was very understanding of my excitement. Basically, she was a class act. I lost my beloved a little over 5 years ago and truly feel for your loss Ray, but we always have our memories, our wonderful memories. Love you man, Jan
Posted by Tanya Anderson on 24th May 2017
When I think of Joan I can't help but think of her smile, her sense of humor, her big heart, and big capacity for love! At a time when I felt when I was floating through life I met Joan and Ray, and they quickly made me feel like a part of their family. Whether it was an awesome yoga class at COIL, a retreat, or a champagne dinner with Joan & Ray, their love for life, for their family & friends, and for each other always shown through. Joan showed me that life is short so don't sweat the small stuff, drink the champagne, love often, and love hard. You will be deeply missed Joan!!
Posted 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.
Posted 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.
Posted 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.
Posted 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.
Posted by Marianne Schoales on 4th May 2017
Say hello to all those we have lost Joan.....we love and miss you all !!!!!
Posted 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
Posted 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
Posted 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, ~dorothy
Posted 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
Posted 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
Posted 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.
Posted 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!
Posted 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
Posted 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.
Posted 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
Posted 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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