HomeObituariesJoan Riopelle Ellis, 95

Joan Riopelle Ellis, 95

Joan Riopelle Ellis, 95, died on February 29, 2024 with her son, Gregory, and daughter, Maria, at her side in San Antonio, Texas. Joan was born and raised in Toledo, Ohio. After graduating from St. Ursula Academy, Joan attended Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri where she met her future husband, Bill Ellis, a University of Missouri engineering student and former WW2 naval officer. During a Columbus Day Party at Stephens, Joan spotted Bill—the cute guy by the Victrola— and the rest is history. Joan was an active member of Tri Delta Sorority at Toledo University where she graduated with two bachelor’s degrees in education. Joan modelled for the John Robert Powers Modeling Agency in Manhattan and was photographed by famed fashion photographer Richard Avedon. Joan taught elementary school before getting married on November 17, 1951. During more than 65 years of marriage, Joan and Bill lived in Haddonfield New Jersey, Columbus Ohio, Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, Princeton New Jersey, and Osprey Florida.

In Columbus, Joan worked part-time writing a weekly column with her own byline in the Columbus Post-Dispatch while raising their three children. In Pittsburgh, the family lived in Fox Chapel and Joan was President of the Carnegie-Mellon University Women’s Club, on the Shadyside Hospital Hospitality Board, and a volunteer crisis counselor. In Princeton, Joan and Bill jointly operated University Associates of Princeton offering professional education programs in the US and Europe. Joan and Bill shared a passion for travel and enjoyed many wonderful trips and adventures around the world. They loved to entertain friends and family in the Princeton house they designed and built. Joan started Design Concepts designing brass ornaments featuring local Princeton landmarks. During their 40-year tenure in Princeton, Joan and Bill were active supporters of Princeton Art Museum, Princeton Historical Society, Morven Museum and Garden, Drumthwacket Foundation, Stuart Country Day School of the Sacred Heart, and Princeton Academy of the Sacred Heart.

In 2015, they moved to The Oaks Club in Osprey. After Bill died, Joan started a group of single Oaks members. She found friendship, support, and community in this Thursday dinner group, which continues to live on and build community. In June 2023, Joan moved to The Lodge at Leon Springs in San Antonio. She enjoyed being close to family, visiting granddaughters, welcoming her great grandson, singing along with T.J. at the clubhouse, and exploring restaurants, wineries, and breweries with Greg.

Daughter of the late Marie and Walter Riopelle of Toledo, wife of the late William Woodrum Ellis, and mother of the late Jeffry Riopelle Ellis, Joan is survived by her children Gregory and Maria, grandchildren Keith, Sara, Sophie, Elyssa, and Heather, great grandchild Rafael, daughters-in-law Kathleen and Delores, and son-in-law Jeffrey.

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