Joan Marcia Stibbard passed away on January 1, 2022. Her funeral was on Thursday, January 6 in the Lawn portion of the Forbes Cemetery with Laurel Hull as celebrant.
Eulogy read by her granddaughter, Donna McCarthy, and grandson, Andrew Stibbard, on behalf of all her grandchildren. Lara Stibbard, granddaughter, read 'Finding Faith in a Flower'.
They thanked all who travelled to join them in celebrating their Nan's life; and those who could not attend but sent messages of condolence.
Joan Marcia Ruge was born on 26 August, 1935 in Forbes. She was the third eldest of the children, with her only surviving sister here today, our Aunty Lyn. Joan's mum, Kathleen was 21 when she was born and Herbert a great deal older.
Nan grew up in Wongajong and Wandary Lane, often talking about attending school at Wongajong and life growing up in Forbes.
With eight siblings, life was never dull and Joan grew up in Forbes her whole life with her close knit family that included Shirley, Reg, Hedley (who passed at two months old), Les, Brian, Colin and of course Lyn.
Nan and Pop coincidentally grew up in the same circles at Wongajong. William Cecil Stibbard, or Pop Bill as we call him, and Nan Joan, were married in 1956 when she was 21 years old.
Then of course came the three boys - David, Terrence and Mark - or Dave, Zorb and Bucky as you may know them. With only a few years between each of them, life was busy as Nan tried to fit in as much tennis and gardening in as she could around raising these 3.
Nan was an amazing and enthusiastic tennis player, who played tennis at every available minute she could. Dad and my uncles tell us of following Nan around the local tennis circuit every week, showing enthusiasm for the sport coincidentally when afternoon tea arrived.
Popular tennis clubs back then saw them travelling to such places as Warroo, Gooloogong, Mulyandry and Wirrinya. Tennis was an integral part of her life and even when she was unable to play any longer, she still kept up her knowledge of Australian tennis and would stay up until all hours watching the Australian Open. She encouraged us all to play, with all of us enjoying having a hit as children.
Nan's garden was a source of pride and joy for her. Not a day went by where she wasn't in the garden, pruning, planting or watering or simply wandering through.
I seriously don't know how she managed to keep the garden alive through so many years of drought, but as a child I remember her garden always full of colour, greenery and of course, her.
Her garden was part of the Open Gardens scheme, and visited by great many people over the years and winning many awards along the way.
We have many memories of running through her garden, picking flowers, Christmas Days and helping her water - it was guaranteed that if she wasn't inside when you went to the house she was out the back watering.
If she wasn't out the back of her own garden, she was in one of our gardens ensuring that our yards were in tip top shape and turning quiet Sundays into full on backyard blitzes.
Nan and Pop were heavily involved in Forbes Country Music, regularly enjoying musters and weekends away with their friends.
Bedgerabong was a highlight on their annual calendar and they always made the trip for the few days to listen to their friends sing and to socialise. Nan of course loved the socialising just as much as the music, and was happy in supporting the local country music scene.
Nan was committed to her family wholeheartedly, showing that in supporting whatever it was that any of us chose to undertake. There is not one race meet that Nan missed, always there for Andy, Lara and Loz at the bikes and James at every go-kart meet she could.
She is a life member of the Forbes Auto-Sports Club and that badge is with her today on her coffin. Nan and Pop also took Codie as their own, supporting and loving her as another grandchild and as part of our family. Nan and Pop were always at one of our houses every day, guaranteed.
If we wanted to know where she was if she wasn't home, we would just text each other to see which house he was at.
She was a very involved, committed and loving grandmother who always wanted to know what was going on in our lives, good or bad, and always there to listen or to have a cup of coffee, and we were very lucky to have her support over the years.
Nan and Pop had a few overseas trips, with Pop winning one to the US. They got to go to Disneyland and tour Nashville, including Gracelands and onto Las Vegas.
They also travelled to New Zealand and in later years, enjoyed trips around NSW with their caravan, no doubt Nan loving to chat to every person she met along the way.
She travelled on the Indian Pacific to Broken Hill for my wedding and again for Paige's first birthday a year later. No way was she staying away for her first great-grandchild's party.
One of my favourite memories growing up was 'Nan Joan Thursday'- Lauren and I would get off the bus just one stop early, across the road from Nan's, and meet her at Spice's shop.
We had free rein at the shop, buying as much junk food as we could and asking Mr Spice to put it on Nan's account. She was always happy to see us after school and it was something that we looked forward to every week, as we knew it was just our time with her and Pop.
Life is certainly going to be dull without Nan. Please, every time you have a shandy, a scone or just half a cup of tea or a full cup of coffee, think of Nan and how kind and caring she was to all.
Bridget and James couldn't be present but sent through some of their words and memories, along with some of our own.
Nan Joan was certainly a one of kind grandmother.
As a typical Ruge she was as stubborn as they come and once set in a routine, was hardly likely to change.
For her grandkids though she was endlessly generous with her time, energy and loose change for trips to Roberty Bob's or the McDonalds Drive thru.
Seldom did Nan and Pop miss a single sporting event, school award ceremony, birthday party, school carnival or really any opportunity to break out the camp chair and have a gossip.
At such events one of Nan's defining characteristics was her ability to strike up a conversation with literally anybody over anything and participation was never optional. Even headphones and loud music offered you no protection from Nan's tennis commentary.
With the cohort of professional grand champions and grand slam hopefuls requiring constant schooling by Joan on their technique, poor choice of outfits and "why don't they go up to the net!?" Not once did Nan ever varnish her opinions.
Growing up with Nan provided us only fond memories.
Playing poker on the porch while commenting on the comings and goings down Farnell St, endless hours pottering around nurseries and gardens, steak night every Monday with all the cousins and curried egg sandwiches and scones in Zorba's shed.
The coffee making duties were endless, although more so for some than others since an unfortunate coffee spiking incident that Nan never forgot.
She even managed to rig the outcome of a local teddy bear competition. Even if was just a lazy Summer's sick day off school, laying on the couch under the wonky fan at Patterson St, we can only think of time spent with Nan as being unquestionably happy.
As grandkids, Nan Joan loved us all equally, although some us (Donna) might have been more equal than others.
The truth though is that we all felt like we were Nan's favorites and if love could be measured in raffle tickets alone, we would have been without doubt the most loved grandchildren in town.
You could guarantee if she wasn't with us she'd be talking to someone about us.
For myself and Lara she was our biggest supporter on the weekends, whether it was a club meeting or towing the caravan to Condo or Dunedoo, not much got in the way of having a cold face washer ready for me at the end of a race. And you wouldn't dare make a speech at the end of day and not thank her.
Her door was always open to us, never batting an eyelid to all the unexpected drop ins or last minute sleepovers, little did we know they'd return the favor down the track, appearing out of nowhere in our homes, Nan holding a child we thought was in bed, and Alex coming out of the shower to find Nan and Pop perched up on the lounge watching the tennis.
She enjoyed random Sunday drives to Parkes to get her favorite wicked wings from KFC, which usually resulted in a detour past Graham and Judy Ruge's house for one of those surprise visits.
Her dedication as a grandmother only grew when she became a great grandmother, knitting every one of them and us a blanket. She doted on every picture or drawing, she loved having Ella and Ivy paint her nails, dishing out all her bingo winnings or giving Nora $2 every Friday to buy a raffle ticket at the Globe.
With all our hearts do we love you Nan and will miss you more than words can ever express.
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