Joan Ellen Patrick, 67, of Ithaca, died peacefully Sunday, November 17, 2013, at Hospicare after a lengthy struggle with cancer.

Born the eldest child of the late Joseph John Patrick and Ann Estelle Jakaitis in Amsterdam, NY, on March 9, 1946, Joan grew up in Merrick, NY, on Long Island. She received degrees from SUNY Cortland (psychology) and Syracuse University (social work), and later went to SUNY Binghamton for a master's degree in creative writing. She worked for nearly a decade as a therapist before finding more satisfying work as a children's book editor and writer.

Joan is survived by her husband of 20 years David Ritchie; mother Ann of Cazenovia; brothers James of Cazenovia, Paul of New York, Richard and sister-in-law Barbara (Licitra) of Manlius; sister Margaret Patrick-Smith and brother-in-law Kevin Smith of West Brookfield, MA; niece Kathryn Patrick and nephews Daniel Patrick, Robin Ahrens, and Mark Ahrens.

Joan reveled in the boundless potential of the mind, and exercised hers every chance she got. A constant reader with wide-ranging interests, she loved the interplay of good discussions. She was a student and teacher of Proprioceptive Writing – a personal creative writing practice developed by Linda Metcalf of Oakland, California – which enlivened and focused her life for the last couple decades.

Locally she took part in Ellen Schmidt's Writing Room, where she found support for her memoir writing. Curious about her family's Lithuanian ancestry, she delved into their genealogy and in 2011 journeyed to that Baltic country. She supported many family members as they charted their personal paths, and especially enjoyed the opportunities to encourage her nephews and niece to become their own people.

Fascinated by textures and the interplay of design and color, Joan explored many themes and variations through weaving, needlework, photography, sculpture, the clothing she wore, the scarves she made and collected, the collages she created, and the greeting cards she constructed and sent to family members. She contributed to the famous fabric covering of an abandoned gas station in Syracuse.

Always health conscious, Joan found movement through yoga and qi gong revitalizing, and volunteered at GreenStar Cooperative Market for over a decade. She loved the warm humidity of Florida, the raw colors of the southwest, the limitless horizons of the prairie, the rocks and woods of the Adirondacks, and always she loved water – streams, lakes, rivers, the ocean.

Visiting hours will be held from 12 noon to 2 p.m. on Saturday, November 23 at the Lansing Funeral Home, 32 Auburn Rd., Lansing, NY, with a memorial service immediately following from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Burial will be at Greensprings Natural Cemetery, Newfield, NY.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Joan Patrick Scholarship fund at the Proprioceptive Writing Center, at .