Cover photo for Joan D. Cancelose's Obituary
Joan D. Cancelose Profile Photo
1928 Joan 2020

Joan D. Cancelose

July 20, 1928 — October 8, 2020

Joan D. Cancelose, 92, of Rockford, passed away on Thursday, October 8, 2020.

She was born July 20, 1928 in Chicago, Illinois, the daughter of Fred and Daisy James. Joan moved to Rockford in 1938. She attended West High School, where she met and later married Carl Cancelose on January 28, 1950. Joan was a dental hygienist prior to marrying Carl. She later went to school, specializing in early childhood education, and was instrumental in the startup of the Head Start Program in Rockford. At the age of 50, Joan went to Rock Valley College, getting a degree in nursing. She worked several years in the emergency room, and other departments at Swedish American Hospital, as well as the Crusader Clinic in Rockford. Joan made many lifelong friends where she worked. She especially enjoyed the times spent at their summer cabin in Lac Du Flambeau, Wisconsin. Joan also organized the wild and fun “James” and “Cancelose” Olympics that were enjoyed by all family during times spent together at the cabin. She was well known for her “wild” and sometimes shocking personality. You would never know what she would say next, filtered or not. She was an avid book reader, Chicago Bears, Blackhawks, and Boston Celtics fan. Joan was always proud of her family. Many thanks to the nursing staff on the PCU unit at Swedish American Hospital and to the staff of Serenity Hospice & Home in Oregon, Illinois.

Joan is survived by her daughter, Betsy (Earl) Ewers; grandchildren, Ryan (Erin) Abruzzo, Christine (Stephen) Reyes, Samara Bilich and Justin Cancelose; great-grandchildren, Natalie and Logan Abruzzo, Alayna, Molly, Devyn, Anthony and Dominic Bilich; brother, Ralph James; sisters-in-law, Karen James, Alice Geddes and Norma Cancelose; brother-in-law, Bill Iverson; many nieces and nephew; special friends, Johnny and Carolyn Ferguson. She is predeceased by her parents; husband Carl; son, David; sister, Diane Nelson; brother, Terry James and her dogs, Rocky and Addie.

To honor Joan’s wishes, cremation rites will be accorded. A private family graveside service will be held in Owen Center Cemetery. A memorial service will be planned for a future date. In lieu of flowers, memorials and hand-written condolences may be made to the family and sent to Fitzgerald Funeral Home & Crematory, 1860 S. Mulford Rd. Rockford, IL 61108.

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Owen Center Cemetey

, Rockford, IL 61101

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