Obituary Details

Joan Huff

January 26, 1932 - May 14, 2019

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Joan Marie Steve English Huff was born in Buffalo, New York. Her father, Edward John Steve, worked for the railroad and was a first generation American born to Prussian and Sorbian immigrants in New York. Joan's mother, Edith Eveline Jones, was born in London, England, and moved to the U.S. by way of South Africa and Montreal employed as an office manager and translator.

Joan lived in Florida, Georgia, and Oregon, before making her home in Raleigh, North Carolina. Joan won a fully paid academic scholarship to a four-year university program at the age of fifteen and completed high school graduating from Zephyrhills High School (Zephyrhills, Florida) two years ahead of schedule. Joan also won a full tuition grant to an highly ranked art school. Though she was unable to attend either program she later put herself through school while working full time and raising two children.

Joan earned her Bachelor's Degree from the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida, and then worked as an Accountant until she moved into Human Resources Management. Later, she served as a tax and bookkeeping consultant to small businesses. Her career path also included positions as a certified x-ray technician, top notch medical assistant, executive secretary, and peer counsellor to seniors.

Joan taught piano, swimming, Sunday School, and various specialized courses for girls when she and a friend organized the first Girl Scout Troops in the Brandon, Florida, area. She was a willing and knowledgeable coach for anyone eager to learn the art of making perfect pastry crust or how to sew on a button or turn a vase into a lamp.

Memberships included American Association of University Women where she served on the executive board as an officer as well as on various committees. Joan was key to many specialized and community involved fundraisers and participated in several interest groups centered around the cinema, opera, reading, needlework, cooking, eating out, and literature.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, The National Rural Electric Cooperative, Unity of Tampa, Dale Carnegie Institute, Order of Eastern Star, Toastmasters, and professional accounting organizations all benefitted by the insight, intellect, and invincibility Ms. Huff brought through her participation.

Joan helped out with many activities sponsored by various other career, academic, and service groups. She worked to raise money for music and arts community programs, volunteered on food drives, and gave time, energy, and financial support to homeless programs and animal rescue foundations. Joan gave a loving home to many abandoned kitties over the years, rang Salvation Army bells, provided rides to individuals who could not drive in her communities, visited folks confined to nursing homes, and acted as a liaison for persons in need linking them to places to get proper help.

She always went above and beyond the call and gave more than her share to others. Generosity defined her approach toward all creatures, and she placed high value on courtesy and kindness. All things soft and beautiful are where Joan found inspiration and peace of mind: quiet sunsets and lilacs in bloom, pretty necklaces and a kitten's purr, a good book, and tiramisu. She loved fine dining, fashion design, and interior decorating; beaches, butterflies, flowers, waterfalls, and watercolors. She was a member of various artists groups and she loved taking art classes and workshops where she easily excelled at any medium she chose to explore.
Her love to do list was long and included more travel, especially to pay homage to her family roots or get close to great works of art. Visiting historic homes, touring formal gardens, and seeing displays of artworks in Europe and across the U.S. gave her immense delight and fed her creative imagination and great respect for historic preservation.

Although she counted many scenic places in her list of all-time favorites, Fort DeSoto Park was the beach she called her number one beach and also, the place she found most relaxing. San Francisco was her favorite city, Scotland her favorite country, and Cuban cuisine contained Joan's fave ethnic dishes. Joan's favorite pastimes were baking, bird watching, word games, solitaire, sewing, knitting, cooking, crocheting, genealogy research, painting, playing poker, and reading. Whatever she undertook she mastered effortlessly.

She was known as a gifted artist and watercolorist, a proficient writer, an expressive pianist and commanding organist. Mahalia Jackson and Jewel fit among singers she most admired and enjoyed as did Englebert Humperdinck and Johnny Cash. Joan possessed a unique mix of skills, passions, and personality traits. We remember Joanie for her superior intellect, rye humor, artistic talent, sensitive nature, indomitable strength, unflagging compassion for others, and fire for the causes that mattered to her.

Joan is survived by daughters, Jan Laraine English of Raleigh and Laurie Beth English of Enterprise, Tennessee, and her brother, Lynn Bromley Steve of Dade City, Florida, as well as nephews, nieces, and honorary family members along with many close friends. Her husbands, G.C. English II of Enterprise, Tennessee, and Arlie Huff of Tampa, Florida, preceded her in death as did her parents and son, John Nelson English II of Macon, Georgia, and her brothers, Leighton Steve of Ebenezer, New York, and Lowell Whitfield Steve of Zephyrhills, Florida. Joan died May 14, 2019, in Raleigh, North Carolina, one month after suffering a major head trauma in an accident.

The family is planning services to be held later in the year in Florida and will publish that information for those who wish to attend. All arrangements are being handled by Renaissance Funeral Home, 7615 Six Forks Road, Raleigh, NC 27615; (919) 866-1866; https://rfhr.com. Condolences may be made directly to family members or c/o the funeral home. Donations may be made in lieu of flowers to: Meals On Wheels, the Humane Society, Audubon Society or a charity of choice in Joan's name.

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