Joan Marie Ross

19 May 2020 | 12:40

Joan M. Ross, 88, of Highland Lakes, .NJ., passed away on Monday, April 20, 2020, after a brief battle with COVID-19.

She was born on April 23, 1931, in New York City, the daughter of Rose E. and Martin T. Geraghty.

She leaves behind a large, loving circle of children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

Ross is survived by her daughter Jeanne Rummel and husband Scott and their children Peter, Patrick, Thomas and Elizabeth; son Thomas Ross and wife Ann and their children Kathryn and Kevin; daughter Anne Austin and husband Edward (Tod) and their children Lauren, Mary and Edward (Lucas); daughter-in-law Suzanne Ross and her children Carolyn (mother of great grandchildren, Oliver and Julian), John and Emily.

Ross is predeceased by her beloved husband John (Jack) Ross and her dear son Donald Ross.

To Ross, family and faith were life’s greatest gifts and this was apparent to all who knew her.She took great joy from being surrounded by her cherished children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. She loved spending time with her lifelong friends.

Ross graduated from St. Joseph’s College, Brooklyn and began a career as a research chemist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in NYC.

After starting a family, she changed careers. Following postgraduate work at the College of St. Elizabeth, Ross taught for many years at Immaculate Conception School in Franklin, N.J. She was passionate about educating her 5th through 8th graders in Science and Art, and was the 8th grade homeroom teacher.

Ross was Chairperson of the Arts and Sciences Department and Vice Principal of the school. She received a national award for Outstanding Teacher of the Year and was listed in Outstanding Elementary Teachers of America.

Ross is widely known for her career as an accomplished watercolor painter, receiving numerous awards in regional, national and international shows. A lifelong painter of scenes from her beloved Highland Lakes, Sussex and Orange counties, she superbly captured the light and the beauty of her treasured landscapes. Ross conducted year-round art workshops and served on juries of show awards and selection in NJ, NY and PA. Her paintings have been exhibited at The National Academy, The Salmagundi Club, The Trotter Museum, Noyes Museum, Monmouth Museum, Waterloo Village, Newington Cropsey Museum, Morris Museum, Clifton Arts Center, Kent Art Association and The Barn Galleries. She had several one-woman shows, two mother-daughter shows and was represented by several galleries.

Ross was a member of numerous art associations including the American Artist Professional League, Composers, Authors and Artists of America, Essex Watercolor Club, Hudson Valley Art Association, New Jersey Watercolor Society (past President), North East Watercolor Society(past President), Salmagundi Club, New Jersey American Artists Professional League, and was listed as an Official U.S. Coast Guard Artist.

She was instrumental in the formation of the Highland Lakes Ecology Committee, serving as President and utilizing her science background to help preserve and improve water quality at the lake and surrounding environment.

As a longtime member of Our Lady of Fatima Church, Ross lent help to her church in many ways, but particularly loved serving as a lay Eucharistic Minister and singing in the choir with late husband Jack. Both also shared a passion for history and were members of the Vernon Township Historical Society.

Ross was passionate about promoting art to people of all ages. At Highland Lakes she developed creative art programs and chaired the popular annual, community-wide Highland Lakes Art Show.

A Celebration of Life will be held at Our Lady of Fatima Church in Highland Lakes at a future date.

For upcoming service updates and online guestbook, please visit Ferguson-Vernon Funeral Home at (Tel: 973-827-6600).

During her life, in order to help her grandchild, Ross supported a nonprofit that funds research to cure a rare disease. She would be delighted to know that in her death, this support continues.Therefore, memorial contributions can be made to PSC Partners Seeking a Cure, 6900 East Belleview Ave., Suite 202, Greenwood Village, CO 80111. You can also visit and choose PSC Partners Seeking a Cure as the charity when making any purchase. Amazon will donate a percentage to the charity at no cost to you.