Joan Ruth Babiak of Bayville, N.J. passed away peacefully on March 4, 2021. She had just turned 87 the day before. She is predeceased by her brother Robert Furchak and son Gregory Giordano. She leaves behind her devoted husband Robert V. Babiak, her adoring children Jerry Giordano of Arlington, Texas, Joanne Giordano of Alexandria, Virginia, her loving brother Andrew Furchak, very close sisters-in-law Arlene and Norma Furchak and her "best-friend cousin" Ruthanne Vanderhoof. She was a wonderful stepmother to Carol and Les Knox, Kathy and Elliot Semet, Bob and Lori Babiak and Kim and John Phillips, and special Nana to grandchildren Evan and Maddie Semet, Trevor and Cassidy Johnson, Jaiden and Brock Babiak, and Andrew and Adam Knox, and great granddaughter Isla Knox. She was everyone's favorite aunt, cousin and friend.
She was born Joan Ruth Furchak on March 3, 1934, in West Orange and was a 1952 graduate of West Orange High School where she was voted "Miss Mother Nature" and "Class Figure." She idolized her parents, Ruth and Andy, and often spoke of her ideal childhood on Wheeler Street, complete with two perfect brothers and a dog named Teddy. Joan had an adventurous spirit and moved to Hawaii at the age of 19 and spent three days on a propeller plane to complete the journey.
She eventually settled in Parsippany, where she raised her family. They travelled to nearly every state in the family motorhome and spent long summers at the beach in Wildwood. Theirs was the house where all the kids played - and the adults too! She threw wonderful parties by the pool and there were many holidays with great food, fun times around the bar and even dancing ... she did a mean jitterbug. She was a second mother to all her kid's friends and another dog, a rescue terrier named Billy, completed the picture.
Joan was a first-generation "modern homemaker," with the first microwave oven and cable TV on her street, a crockpot that never cooled and a wallet filled with credit cards for her daily trips to the mall. She could have easily qualified for the Olympic Shopping Team and never met a gift shop she didn't like. She always had a car trunk full of returns and is famous for advising her kids: "don't cut the tags off till your walking out the door."
Known for her sparkling blue eyes, quick wit and sunny disposition, she'd light-up a room and her laugh was infectious. She was extremely generous with her time and a wonderful listener. She never forgot a birthday and gave many special cards and presents. She enjoyed ceramics class and drinking wine with her sister-in-law Norma and weekends in Wildwood with her cousin Ruthanne. She looked forward to her weekly calls with her younger brother, Drew, who always made her laugh, and the many good times with family and friends, retelling favorite funny stories.
Joan relocated to Bayville in 1996 after meeting her future husband, Bob, a retired New Jersey State Trooper, at the Anchor Inn. They had nearly 25 wonderful years together filled with much love, many laughs, and countless adventures, including a honeymoon in Hong Kong, Australia, and Singapore, where they visited her daughter and attended a party on the Orient Express. There also were many trips to Washington, D.C., and Oklahoma, to see her children; she was so proud of their success. And more trips to Texas, Florida, New York and the Carolinas. Joan and Bob were a great couple, hosting many fun times around the bar, in a sunroom room filed with music, laughter and love. With Bob by her side, Joanie enjoyed drives to the ocean, cruising the bay on their boat, drinks and picnics at the Elks Lodge and lunch at the Lobster House, Office Lounge or Napoli. They took good care of each other, especially during the tough times, and were best friends. Bob was a dedicated husband who did everything for Joan in her last years.
Affectionately called "Joanie," she was unconditionally kind, warm and welcoming to everyone. Joanie was a trusted friend and confidante, always on your side, and always without judgement. An avid magazine reader, movie watcher and wine drinker, she loved entertaining family and friends and holidays were always an event. She was a great cook and famous for her delicious clam sauce, pepper steak, sauerkraut balls, deviled eggs and chocolate chip cookies. Her kids were convinced they won the "mother lottery." All who knew her would agree.
She used to say, "It's not how you feel, it's how you look," and she always looked fabulous. Joanie loved decorating and fashion and was always dressed to the nines, often wearing her signature hat. Her incredible sense of style was second only to her beautiful heart and extremely generous spirit. She was always, undeniably, the most beautiful woman in the room, both inside and out. Joanie was, indeed, a class act.
She beat breast cancer at 80 but it returned and metastasized last year. She was hospitalized for pneumonia three times and, eventually, her big spirit just outgrew her tiny, frail body. She had a deep faith and said she talked more to God than anyone else in the past year. On her last day before she passed, her birthday, she was surrounded by gifts, cards, bouquets of flowers, enjoyed a great meal and her last glass of wine with her husband and daughter, took another great photo, and spoke to nearly everyone she loved.
As she is famous for saying, "The best is yet to come!" Rest in peace our dear Joanie.
For expressions of condolences, donations may be made to St. Jude Children's Hospital (stjude.org) or arranging a Mass offering in her honor.
Funeral arrangements are private with the family under the direction of Mastapeter Memorial Home of Bayville.
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