Joan “Elana” Ann (Williams) Straw died peacefully on July 17, 2020. The coronavirus ultimately ended her long fight with dementia. Elana was born in Tacoma Park, Maryland, on July 2, 1939. She met the love of her life, Allan, in Washington, D.C. They married after a short courtship and began their adventure with the Air Force. Together with their two children, Robbin and Doug, they were stationed at several U.S. bases, Taiwan, and London before retiring and heading to Miami. Elana made life-long friends and memories along the way and made certain that her family always felt “at home.”
In Miami, Elana embraced residential real estate and became President of the Miami Woman’s Realtor Association and the Executive V.P. of the Miami Board of Realtors. After 12 years, the lure of the mountains took hold and they moved north to the foothills of Georgia. They called Demorest, Georgia home for 24 years. It was here that Elana fully embraced her spiritual side and became a Reiki healer and minister. She dearly loved her spiritual community and would likely still be there if not for her illness. A gracious hostess, her door was always open to the friends made instantly by just her dimpled smile and twinkly blue eyes. She never met a stranger.
She loved being a Meme to her three grandsons and relished reading them stories, making living room tents, and playing hide and seek when they were little. As they grew, she was their loudest cheerleader at sporting events and with their academic achievements. “The world has never seen three such perfect young men!”
Joan “Elana” Straw is survived by her husband of 59 years, Allan Straw of Nocatee, Florida; daughter, Robbin (Matt) Ossi of Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida; son, Doug (Debbie) Straw of Marietta, Georgia; grandsons, Sean and Alex Ossi, and Ryan Straw; sister, Linda Hill; sister-in-law, Arlyne Swain; many cousins, nieces, and nephews. She was preceded in death by her sister, Winona Sheffield.
The family wishes to express our deepest gratitude to the memory care staff at River Garden Hebrew Home. These dedicated people took such tender care of Elana, bringing joy and dignity to her remaining time here on Earth. In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial donation to River Garden at https://www.rivergarden.org/river-garden-foundation/donate/
Her ashes will be interred privately at the Jacksonville National Cemetery. We are unable, at this time, to celebrate her life in person with you all, but please enjoy the memorial slide show.
The family hopes you will help tell Elana’s story by sharing your remembrances of her in the guestbook. We are comforted knowing that Elana has her memories again.