ELDRIDGE JOAN TIBBS ELDRIDGE, Ph.D. (Age 69) November 28, 1942 - July 26, 2012 Joan T. Eldridge of Swarthmore, PA, died peacefully on Thursday, July 26, 2012 after a year of struggle with cancer. Born Joan Alice Tibbs in Washington, D.C. to the late Alice Booker Tibbs and Thomas Vivian Tibbs, Joan was a life-long educator who taught Spanish language and literature from the elementary school level through college. Dr. Eldridge graduated with a B.S. in Spanish in 1964 from the Georgetown University School of Languages and Linguistics. She earned the M.A. in Spanish Literature at Columbia University Graduate Faculties in 1968 and her doctorate from The Catholic University of America in 1989. She taught in the D.C. public schools' Foreign Language in Elementary School program and went on to teach at Howard University in its Foreign Language department, Widener University in Chester, PA and retired from teaching at Neumann College (now University). She took a year off from teaching to fill in at Swarthmore College in 1993 as acting dean and director of its Black Culture Center. She was an active volunteer in her communities and co-founded the D.C. Arts Education Foundation and served as its president in 1995 and 96. She is a member of the Philadelphia Chapter of The Girl Friends, Inc. a historic social and civic organization of Black women. An avid reader and lover of theater, dance and film musicals, Joan also assembled and enjoyed a beautiful collection of African-American dolls and Santas. Our lives were graced by her warm and generous humanity, beautiful smile and splendid elegance. Joan grew up in Washington's renowned 19th Street Baptist Church and, after moving to Swarthmore in 1989, became a member of the historic Christ Church in Philadelphia. A dynamic and loving grandmother, mother, wife and friend, she leaves to mourn her passing her beloved husband of 43 years, Maurice G. Eldridge, a vice president at Swarthmore College, their two children, Maria Fisher (Robert) and Jonathan (Alicia) and four grandchildren, Maria's Francessca Wallace, and Jonathan's three boys, Jonathan II, Andrew, and Michael who all fondly called her "Lita", short for the Spanish "little grandmother," Abuelita, her Aunt Daisy Douglas of Montclair NJ, and many other fond relatives and friends. Funeral Services will be held at Christ Church, 2nd Street above Market, Philadelphia, at 11 a.m. Thursday, August 2 and burial with a graveside ceremony, at Harmony National Cemetery, National Harmony Memorial Park, 7101 Sheriff Road, Largo, MD at 2 p.m. Friday, August 3. In lieu of flowers the family suggests that gifts be made in her memory to The Chester Fund for Education and the Arts, P.O. Box 22, Chester, PA 19016 (www.thechesterfund.org).
Published in The Washington Post on July 29, 2012