Joan Barbara Peterson Royal made her transition to eternity as the day was beginning on September 16, 2009 with her children by her side. The firstborn child of Charles Edgar and Mary Jane Draper Peterson, she was born on January 4, 1933 at Bryn Mawr Hospital, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. Joan was a gracious and loving woman who was devoted to her family and friends. She was known for her jovial nature, stylish manner and sense of justice. Joan’s hobbies were reading, gardening, sewing and travel. Furthermore, she was the consummate hostess for family gatherings or club social events.
Joan gave her life to Christ at an early age, and was baptized at the Greater St. Matthews Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She received her education in the Philadelphia Public Schools, and graduated from the Philadelphia High School for Girls.
During her high school years, Joan was instrumental in forming a ladies social club, Club Venus, along with several of her friends and classmates. The ladies maintained close relationships, and hosted many social affairs, many where their family members were included. Neither time nor physical distance could break the bonds of friendship. The club endured over the years and has even enjoyed reunions in vacation destinations. Joan was a loyal friend to many over the course of her life.
Joan began her career after graduation from Girls High as an employee of the United States Veteran’s Administration in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where she was employed for fifteen years. While she was working at the VA, she met and married her former husband, James E. Royal, Jr. Their marriage produced two children, Stephanie Royal Booker and Peter James Royal. In October 1967, Joan relocated to the Hudson Valley in New York with her young family. She pursued higher education at Orange County Community College while raising her children. While living in New York, Joan was employed by International Business Machines (IBM) and by the New York State Department of Mental Health. She worked as a Corrections Officer for over 30 years until her retirement. Joan served as a union representative for many years and was an accomplished negotiator. Upon her retirement, Joan pursued a new career and earned a paralegal degree and occasionally consulted with area firms.
After diagnosis of her illness, Joan relocated back to Philadelphia for treatment and to be with her family. She regularly attended Overbrook Presbyterian Church and was a frequent visitor to the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas. Joan was also active within the Democratic Party, evidence of her passion for politics. She lobbied for environmental protection and contributed to many social causes. She was also a devoted grandmother who enjoyed the simple pleasures of children. She loved to travel and made many journeys abroad.
Joan leaves to cherish her precious memory her daughter, Stephanie (Evan T. Booker), her son, Peter (Kenya Briley Royal), her siblings, Charles E. Peterson, Jr., and Doris M. Peterson Burrell; four grandchildren, Evan T. Booker II, Corbin Mackenzie Booker, Blake Peterson Booker and Isabella Grace Royal; her former husband, James E. Royal, Jr., and a host of loving relatives, including her mother-in-law, Eunice L. Royal, sisters-in-laws, Renee M. Moyler (Walter) and Evangelist Lillian R. Roberts, and a host of relatives in her extended family.