Joan Mary Stebe passed away on January 4, 2021. Joan was a joyful person with a zest for life, beloved by family and friends. As a child, she danced with the USO during World War II. As a teen, she studied ballet at the High School of the Performing Arts and danced at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City. As an adult, she pursued many interests. A gifted choreographer, she founded and directed the Burlington Ballet Company and the Dancers’ Workshop in Willingboro, New Jersey, and later directed the Virginia Beach Ballet. She also directed the Mississippi Ballet Theater and was the founding director of the innovative public dance education department under the auspices of the Academic and Performing Arts Complex. Many of her dancers went on to professional careers. All of them held her in their hearts, and gained a lifelong appreciation for the performing arts. A graduate of Queens College in Political Science, Joan did graduate work at Hunter College, at New York University, and at the University of South Florida. She was a consummate teacher of history and other subjects in Sarasota and Venice High Schools, from which she retired in 2000. She was known for her exciting lectures which drew on her deep knowledge and love of drama. Generations of students memorized and recited “the Stebe Speech” on Friday afternoons, which reminded them to avoid danger and return to her safely on Monday. Former students sought her advice long after graduation in reunions overflowing with hugs and laughter. In retirement, Joan was an outstanding cook, a gifted writer, and an avid reader with a keen interest in the world. Most importantly, Joan was a loving mother, grandmother, sister and friend. She greeted each day as a gift, and lifted us with her positive spirit. We will miss her warmth, wisdom, hugs and laughter. We treasure the memory of her love. Born May 28, 1935 to Agnes F. Kaletchitz (nee Moran) and Alexander J. Kaletchitz. Sister of Kathleen Hawryluk. Wife of Peter F. Stebe. Proud mother of John P. Stebe, Julia M. Stebe Glorius, Kathleen J. Stebe, and Nicholas J. Stebe. Grandmother to Sara, Christiana, Alexander Gerhard, Danielle, Athena, Hannah, and Alexander Khan. Step-grandmother to Ivy and Vincent, and beloved mother-in-law to Chris, Joe, Rachelle, and Kitty. In lieu of flowers, please emulate Joan’s loving and positive spirit, greet life with joy, and lift those around you.
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