Joan Marie Ross

| 26 May 2020 | 12:53

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

She was born on April 23, 1931 in New York City, daughter of the late 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.

She 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.

She graduated from St. Joseph’s College, Brooklyn, and began a career as a research chemist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. After starting a family, she changed careers. Following postgraduate work at the College of St. Elizabeth, she taught for many years at Immaculate Conception School in Franklin, N.J. She was passionate about educating her fifth through eighth graders in science and art, and was the eighth-grade homeroom teacher. She was chair 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.

She 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. She conducted year-round art workshops and served on juries of show awards and selection in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. 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.

She 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 using 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, she 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.

She was passionate about promoting art to people of all ages. At Highland Lakes she developed creative art programs and chaired the popular annual, communitywide 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, visit Ferguson-Vernon Funeral Home at, or phone 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.