Joan Sterling passed from this earth peacefully on May 24, 2019 surrounded by her family. She is preceded in death by her parents, Adam Fisher and Anna Cox Fisher and a brother, John Fisher. She is survived by a sister, Louise Jones (Yulee) and a brother, Adam Fisher (Yulee), her children, Henry “Hank” Sterling (Suzanne), Cocoa, FL., and Paula Foster (Jerry) of Fernandina Beach. She had 3 grandchildren, Desiree “Michelle” Thompson (James “Jamie”), Yulee, Cheri “LeAnne” Nicholls (Nicholas “Nick”), Lakeland, Michael Foster (Stacee), Yulee. Eight Great grandchildren: Grace, Prestyn, Carter, Claire, Holden, Jaxx, Easton and Cate. She had several nieces, nephews, and cousins whom she loved and cherished.
Joan Marie Sterling was a lifelong resident of Nassau County. She was raised in Yulee on the family farm, lived in Baltimore Maryland for a brief period and later moved to Fernandina Beach. Joan attended Yulee High School where she formed many lifelong friends including her best friend Opal Wells.
She met the father of her children, Henry “Bunny” Sterling, at Main Beach in Fernandina. They were married for 32 years. She and Bunny were active participants in the local shrimping community. During the early years of the “Shrimp Boat Races.” Joan was well known for her boat decorating talents often creating elaborate props and themes. Together, she and Bunny won Best Decorated Boat consecutively for several years.
While living on the farm, Joan developed a love for animals. Throughout her life she had numerous domestic and wild pets. She had a love for cats. But was known to care for racoons, geese, turtles, squirrels, fish, dogs and birds. She was a champion for local abused and neglected animals.
Joan loved movies, reading and music. She owned an extensive movie collection and told many stories of going to the picture show as a child to watch Roy Rogers. “Memaw” often took her grandchildren to the “show” where they shared innumerable good times together. Her favorite movie was “Gone with the Wind.” She was an avid reader and favored Science Fiction books. Joan loved music and taught herself how to play guitar and banjo. She once wrote a song and had it published. In the late 1970’s she played guitar for St. Michael’s Church in Fernandina Beach. Joan loved the music of the early 60’s and Neil Diamond.
While raising her children, Joan completed her high school education. Later she went on to earn her Bachelor Degree in Psychology from Jacksonville University. She worked in private security for several years and later retired from Kmart in Fernandina Beach where she worked for 16 years. Joan preferred working in the garden shop as she loved plants and flowers. She shared many wives’ tails regarding gardening for example “spitting on a cutting” before you plant it.
Services will be at 6:00 pm on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 in the Burgess Chapel of Oxley-Heard Funeral Home with Chaplain Jackie Hayes officiating.
The family will receive friends from 5:00 pm until the hour of service at the funeral home.
The family requests that donations be made in her memory to Cat’s Angels, 709 S. 8th Street, Fernandina Beach, FL., 32034