JOAN CUNNINGHAM HEIDELBERG, age 87, of Troy, Ohio passed away on Friday, August 14, 2020 at Hospice of Miami County Inpatient Unit in Troy surrounded by love. She was born on October 27, 1932 in Grove Hill, Alabama to the late Francis Blair and Lillie Mae (Gay) Cunningham.
Joan is survived by two sons: Charles F. (Susan) Heidelberg of Gobles, Michigan and John F. (Karla) Heidelberg of Los Angeles, California; one daughter: Suzanne H. Addis of Fairborn, Ohio; eight grandchildren; two great grandchildren and several nieces and nephews. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Robert Heidelberg in 1995; son-in-law: Greg Addis; and three siblings: Lorraine Hicks, Donal Cunningham and Jeannette Partin.
Joan received her Bachelor of Arts from Howard College in Birmingham, Alabama and Master of Arts from Rice University in Houston, Texas. She began her professional life in the radioisotope lab at MD Anderson in Houston, Texas. After moving to Dayton in the early 1960s, she was a very active volunteer at the Dayton Museum of Natural History. In 1973, she and her husband, Robert were hired by Clayton Brukner to serve as the original directors of the Brukner Nature Center in Troy. She was active in the North American Association of Environmental Educators. She also initiated a teacher exchange program with Russia and instrumental in establishing an environmental education program for children in Russia. She retired from Brukner in 1997.
Joan was a member and the first female President of the Troy Rotary Club and a Paul Harris Fellow with Rotary International. Through the Troy Rotary she was able to establish the building and operation of a nature center in Kangundo, Kenya. She served on the Troy Foundation distribution committee. She was also recognized as a Miami County YWCA Woman of Excellence and an inductee of the Troy Hall of Fame and the Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame. Overall Joan was an educator, photographer, mentor, world traveler and most of all a mother, grandmother and friend.
Private family graveside service will be held in Riverside Cemetery, Troy, Ohio. A Memorial Service will take place at a later date.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Brukner Nature Center, 5995 Horseshoe Bend Road, Troy, Ohio 45373. Condolences may be expressed to the family at www.bairdfuneralhome.com.
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Brukner Nature Center
5995 Horseshoe Bend Road, Troy OH 45373