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Patricia Cox "Joan" Rock

1930 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Patricia Cox "Joan" Rock Obituary
Patricia J. ""Joan"" Cox Rock, loving mother, wife, wise counselor, nurse, producer, choreographer and all around firecracker left this world unexpectedly on July 5, 2018. Joan was born in Oak Park, Illinois on January 16, 1930, to her parents John Flavin and Verna Phyllis Cox. Joan attended Ascension School and Trinity High School in Oak Park, IL. Joan attended the St. Bernard's School of Nursing at Loyola University, receiving her Bachelor of Science in Nursing. This was a bold decision after her three older sisters attended their neighborhood Rosary College. In 1951, social worker Eunice Kennedy Shriver called upon Joan to accept a position at The House of the Good Shepard, a home for unwed mothers and abuse survivors. Joan taught health and hygiene to marginalized women and children. Joan then took her nursing skills to Yellowstone National Park, where she spent two summers as a park nurse, often meeting the needs of her patients on horseback. This was a wonderful time in Joan's life, as her close buddy/sister Marilyn spent those same summers working alongside her in Yellowstone. In 1955, as a fresh-faced OB/GYN Nurse at Mercy Hospital in Chicago, Joan caught a glimpse of a sassy Chief Resident Bill Rock. She and her friend Blanche Foley would bake pies for the Phi Chi House, and strategically deliver them when the young resident was studying at the fraternity. Sparks flew, and Bill and Joan became engaged before Bill went into the service. They were married on April 16, 1955 at Ascension Church in Chicago and their amazing partnership lasted 63 years and beyond. Bill often said that he couldn't do anything without Joan's love, support and wisdom.
After settling in Chicago, Joan and Bill welcomed their first daughter Julie, a most exciting first birth as Bill had to carry Joan down three flights of their apartment stairs in order to rush her to the hospital. After residency, Bill and Joan decided to move to Madison, Wisconsin, where Bill accepted a position at the VA Hospital in Madison. They moved into the Westmoreland neighborhood and welcomed five more children. When the house on Westmoreland Blvd. became a tad too crowded, Joan and Bill found their dream home in Madison, where they greeted their seventh child and the brood was finally complete. Joan was the most amazing mom her children could ask for, often making several shifts of meals for the kids, a late night shift for Bill, and always ready with an oven baked sandwich for all the kids who walked home for lunch while at Blessed Sacrament and Edgewood High School. While Bill was caring for patients and making house calls, Joan made the home joyous and fun for the kids, welcoming friends and neighbors always, teaching anyone and everyone to dance, playing music, hosting bridge parties, inviting neighbors and friends over to ice skate in the back patio, teaching CCD in the living room, making her famous roasts and lasagnas for all who came, taking the family to Anvil and Bessemer for ski weekends, relishing Door County summers and her beloved lake Michigan, beach walks, singing around the player piano, hosting Badger football game day BBQ's, celebrating her nieces and nephews by her unwavering love and support, caroling parties, backyard carnivals, taking the kids to farm auctions, making pinecone wreaths for holidays, and always acting as chauffeur for every ball game, show, school event and service opportunity.
After the kids became more independent, Joan took on a new career in theatre, a passion of hers ever since she and her sister Marilyn took dance class at Billy's Dance Studio in Chicago. Her theatre journey started by teaching tap class at Blessed Sacrament School, then on to a long and storied career at CTM, Children's Theatre of Madison, where Joan joined CTM as resident Choreographer. She relished her time at CTM and had a special gift for teaching dance to the most left footed thespians. While at CTM, Joan made lifelong friendships from casts far and wide who she loved dearly. After CTM, Joan began Producing and Directing musical reviews for Edgewood High School's school fundraiser, Edgefest Follies. Joan worked tirelessly to create a show that entertained audiences while raising money for Edgewood. After Edgefest, Joan's fundraising efforts moved to Blessed Sacrament School, where she produced Encore for over 30 years. Finally, Joan raised funds for Hospice of Madison by producing and Directing Encore for the Don and Marilyn Anderson Hospice Center in Madison. She was so dedicated to her shows, she somehow managed to coordinate program ads and show posters and would make dinner for the cast at the closing night party.
Joan encouraged all of her children to have passion, to be true to themselves, to have faith, and find your ministry, whatever that may be.
Joan wanted us to spread joy in whatever we did, and as often as we could. Joan's laugh was infectious, and she instilled that laugh into her children and grandchildren. Joan will be remembered for her love of life, her love of family and her joy with friends. She loved to attend daily mass and take meditative long walks where she was never without her rosaries. Joan is survived by her children Julie, Patty, Bill (Marcia), John (Kelly), Kathleen (Brian Smith), Michael and Maryellen. Joan adored her 5 grandchildren Jack, Wesley, Anna, Lucy and Libby. Joan is survived by her sister Anne in Chicago, IL and several nieces and nephews. Preceded in death by her parents John and Verna Cox, sisters Julie and Marilyn, brother John, and her husband, Dr. William Rock.
The family would like to thank Dr. Al Musa and his wonderful staff and Dr. Jenny Hackforth-Jones for a lifetime of wonderful care. Thanks also to any and all clergy who knew Joan. Please join us as concelebrants.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 12 NOON at OUR LADY QUEEN OF PEACE CATHOLIC CHURCH, 401 S. Owen Dr., Madison, on Friday, July 13, 2018. A visitation will be held at CRESS FUNERAL HOME, 3610 Speedway Road, Madison, on Thursday, July 12, 2018 from 4:00 - 6:00 p.m. and at church on Friday from 10:00 a.m. until time of the Mass.
In lieu of flowers, Donations may be made to The House of the Good Shepard, Chicago IL, www.hgschicago.org., Northern Sky Theatre of Door County, Dane County Humane Society. Truly an entertainer to the end, Joan loved putting on tiny puppet shows, spontaneously donning a funny hat and never went a day without dancing around the house. Joan would want to support your local community theatre arts organizations. She would want you to go see a show, cheer loudly and stand up. Joan would want you to follow your passion, be your best self, LAUGH a lot, and DANCE! Any Dream Will Do!
Please share your memories at www.cressfuneralservice.com
Published in a Chicago Tribune Media Group Publication on July 11, 2018
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