Bianco, Joan N.

Joan Novelli Bianco, 88, passed away peacefully on May 28, 2023, at Cokesbury Village. She was a wonderful wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, cousin, and friend.

Joan “Jo Ann” was born and raised in Erie, PA to the late Samuel and Ramona (Forfia) Novelli.  She attended Villa Maria Academy, then went on to earn her Bachelor of Science degree in History/English from Edinboro University in 1957.  It was there she met her husband, Carmen A. Bianco, and were married in 1956.

After graduation, Joan and Carmen moved to McDaniel Crest in Wilmington following the advice of their dear friends, Grace and John Modica.  While raising three children, Joan worked as a shorthand teacher, a bookkeeper for Alert Oil and the Presbyterian Church, and substituted at various schools in the old Alfred I. DuPont School District.  Joan became very involved with St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Church as a CCD coordinator and teacher.  She was a lector up until her final years.   

Joan was most proud of her 25 years as an English teacher at Delcastle Technical High School and Howard High School of Technology. She formed many lasting friendships with the teachers, staff, and students.  In 1989, she earned her Master of Science degree in Education at Wilmington University.

Traveling the world with her husband and longtime friend, Fr. Dan Gerres, brought her great joy, as they hit six out of the seven continents.  She enjoyed playing golf, repeating many Italian classes, reading five or more books at a time, learning piano, and being on the Junior Board for St. Francis Hospital. 

In addition to her parents, Joan was predeceased by her husband, Carmen, of 58 years, and her loving brother, Ronald Novelli.  She is survived by her three children, John and his wife, Kyle of Landenberg, PA, Ann B. Wood and her husband, John, of Waldorf, MD, and, Marguerite B. Annone and her husband, Michael, of Wilmington; her seven grandchildren, whom she loved and adored, Kristine Barron (David), Colleen Barclay (Alexander), Carolyn Bianco, Ron Wood, Kathleen Wood Lam (Curtis), Michael Annone, and Maria Fink (Nathan) and her two great-grandsons, Dominic and Austin. She is also survived by her aunt, Anita Balducci, who was more like a sister, and her lifelong friend, Sr. Kathleen Lehner, MHSH, and many Forfia family cousins.

Joan’s family would like to recognize the compassionate staff at Cokesbury Village. Thank you to Suzanne Ransehousen, all the nurses, CNAs, caregivers, and the ACTS Hospice team who watched over her during this last year.

Friends and family are invited to pay their respects on Saturday, June 3 from 9:45 – 10:45 am at St. Mary Magdalen Church, 7 Sharpley Rd., Wilmington, DE 19803. A eulogy will be offered at 10:50 am followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 11. Interment will follow at St. Joseph on the Brandywine Cemetery.

 In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in loving memory of Joan Bianco in support of the T-Cell Leukemia and Lymphoma Initiative at Jefferson Health. Donations can be made online at by selecting “other” for the designation and noting “TCLL Initiative” in the notes. Please click “select tribute” to acknowledge your gift is in memory of Joan Bianco. Donations sent via check may be made payable to *Jefferson,* please note “In memory of Joan Bianco” in the memo line and mail to “Office of Institutional Advancement, 125 South 9th Street, Suite 600, Philadelphia, PA 19107.

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