Obituary for Joyce 'Phebe' Ronalds
ROCKLAND - Joyce Knoche Ronalds passed away in the early morning of November 30th, 2017 in Rockland, Maine, at the age of 97.
Joyce was born Emily Joyce Adele Knoche to Cora and Ernest Knoche in Brooklyn, New York, at Wycoff Heights Hospital on September 9th, 1920, where she began a life of love, service, compassion and grace. Known by many of her friends and admirers as “Phoebe,” she followed her passion of caring for others by becoming a Registered Nurse. It was while working at the same hospital that she met and later married William B.T. Ronalds II with whom she had two sons, Hugh Arthur Ronalds and William B.T. Ronalds III (Bill).
During the Second World War she lived with her boys at her parents’ home in Brooklyn until her husband returned from the war at which time the family moved to Wind Gap and then to Pen Argyl, Pennsylvania. She began working at Easton Hospital from 11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. in order to be with her family and send the boys off to school.
It was a blessing, when she was selected to be the School Nurse at the Pen Argyl High School but in order to qualify for the position she needed to gain a degree in education which she did concurrently at night and weekends from Kutztown State University. Extremely intelligent and conscientious, she became a straight A student, doing homework at the kitchen table.
Joyce was predeceased by her husband and son, both Bills. Left to cherish her memory are her son, Hugh (Anna), grandchildren Peter Todd Ronalds (Leslie) of Bethlehem, PA, Maureen Ronalds Santoli (Joseph) of Atlanta, GA, and Duncan Hugh Ronalds of League City, TX; her adoring great-grandchildren Annabel Claire Santoli, Charlotte Sofia Santoli and William Peter Ronalds.
She became friends with all who knew her, attending to their needs be it medical or simply for encouragement and a willing listener. During her years at the high school she was beloved by students and faculty alike, serving them with dignity and compassion and always with a pleasant demeanor, and never missing a day of work.
Joyce loved her family, was an avid dog lover and was a rock of support for all who knew her. In her spare time she loved to read, knit and cook for her family. Even in retirement she continued to give of herself as a volunteer for Meals on Wheels among other charities.
The family extends sincere gratitude to the Knox Center for Long Term Care and the family would like to express special thanks to the team of care givers who were so very loving, gentle and meticulous in her care throughout her entire stay there but especially in her final weeks. The family also owes a great debt of gratitude to Susanne Ward who remained unfailing by her side and loved her as a mother and Joe Castiglione, a constant and loving presence in her time at Knox.
Details of arrangements for funeral mass and memorial celebration of Joyce’s life will be forthcoming in the early months of the new year.
Expressions of condolences may be made in the form of contributions to the Knox Center for Long Term Care Activities Fund, 6 White Street, Rockland, Maine, 04841, in the name of Joyce Ronalds.