Joan Ruvane

Joan Stewart Ruvane

1932 - 2017

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Obituary of Joan Ruvane

Joan Stewart Ruvane, 84, of Buck Hill Falls, PA, formerly of Durham, NC and Short Hills, NJ, died peacefully in her sleep on August 18, 2017. Born September 3, 1932 in New York City, Joan was an accomplished athlete who enjoyed golf, horseback riding and skiing. Joan is best known for her connection to women’s and junior golf. She was an inspiration to generations of junior, high school, and collegiate-level golfers in North Carolina and Pennsylvania, teaching so many to love and respect the game of golf and its rules. As a long-time volunteer for the USGA, Joan served on the USGA Girls Junior Championship Committee, the Women’s Amateur Public Links Committee, and as a Rules Official at numerous other USGA championship events, as well as many college and high school regional tournaments.In recent years, she served as a benefactor and Director of the Pocono Junior Golf Tour.

In her youth, Joan enjoyed roller skating in Central Park and riding the carousel, where she loved to catch the brass ring. Joan attended the Knox School for Girls in Cooperstown, NY and spent summers with her family at the Pocono Manor cottage her grandfather designed and built. Joan went on to attend Cornell University and then married Joseph J. Ruvane, Jr., who she had known since her childhood days in the Poconos. Joan and Joe were married for 47 years, until Joe’s death in 2000. Together, they raised six children.

Joan is survived by her six children: Emily Ruvane Johnston of Tucson, AZ; Sharon V. Ruvane of Farmington, CT; Mary B. Ruvane of Mountainhome, PA; Patricia M. Ruvane and Joseph J. (Trip) Ruvane, III (Eileen) of Buck Hill Falls, PA; and Louis S. Ruvane (Michelle) of San Jose, CA. “Grammy” also leaves behind eight grandchildren: Gretchen Neison Duarte, Scott Gravatt, Katharine Gravatt, Kelly Ruvane, Joseph (Jay) Ruvane, IV, Kyler Ruvane, Liam Ruvane, and Boden Ruvane; as well as two great-grandchildren: Logan Duarte and Lucille Duarte. She is also survived by her sister Lita Perry O’Connell of Fountain Valley, CA; her cousin Mary Brent (née Kniffen) Snyder; nieces Louise (née Lins) Ducas and Susan (née Lins) Jackson; and nephews Andrew Lins and Philip Ward.  

Joan was predeceased by her husband, Joseph J. Ruvane, Jr., former Chairman and CEO of Glaxo; her grandson, Harry H.R. Neison; her parents, Emily (née Duncan) Perry and Louis Stewart, Jr.; and her sisters Marion (née Stewart) Lins and Kate Elizabeth (née Stewart) Kuehn.   

As a golfer, Joan participated in the U.S. Women’s Open and won numerous championships and tournaments at Pocono Manor, Buck Hill Falls, the Garden State Women’s Golf Association, and the Carolina Golf Association. Joan served as Captain of the women’s golf team at Cornell University.

Joan asks that we not mourn her, but someday join her to “play that perfect Donald Ross golf course in the sky, where everyone plays by the rules and respects their fellow competitors and opponents.” If you close your eyes and listen, you can hear her infectious laughter roll across the fairways.

A celebration of Joan’s life will be held at the Buck Hill Falls Tennis Tea in Buck Hill Falls, PA on Saturday, September 2nd at 2:00 PM. Later that day, at 5:30 PM, there will be an informal gathering at Paiste Pond to toast Joan. You are invited to join the family at both or either event, or Joan would be just as happy if you went out and played nine holes, using Summer Rules, of course.

For online condolences or to share memories, please visit In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Jordan Spieth Family Foundation, c/o R.G.T., 5950 Sherry Lane, Suite 600 Dallas, TX 75225.