Joan  Ruggles

Obituary of Joan Marie Ruggles

On February 21, 2023, Joanie Marie Ruggles departed this life and entered the joy of our Lord.  In her time with us, Pastor Joanie lived miracles. She sacrificially emptied herself out of love for Jesus and love for mankind in general. She possessed a living compassion evident to all who knew her, a faith which believed in the midst of all things, and a steadfast hope which endured the bleakest of times. She is a devoted servant of Christ Jesus, a faithful wife, a loving mother, and a beloved friend. A woman of whom the world is not worthy.


Born on 5/18/1959, Joanie was born as the youngest of 9 siblings to Genevieve and Joseph Conley, at Mercy Hospital in Des Moines, IA.  As a daughter in a devout Irish Catholic family, she attended St. Augustine Catholic school in Des Moines through the eighth grade. She was active in various extracurricular activities and enjoyed reading and studying Holy Scripture. Through her exposure and faithfulness to the Roman Catholic Church, Joanie developed her long-standing love for the poor, homeless, and rejected of society which was manifest throughout the entirety of her life and ministry. It was also during these early years where she learned the single most transformative truth which identified the theme of her life and ministry which was, “If you were the only person on the planet Jesus would have died for you”. In her eyes, and in the eyes of God, no one was/is unlovable.


Joanie attended Briarcliff college and the University of Northern Iowa majoring in special education and social work. Though she did not receive a degree, this learning served her well in the coming years. In 1978-1979, she served as a para for children with special needs. Throughout her professional career she also worked as a dental hygienist and assistant.


On November 13, 1982, she married former co-worker and friend Jeffrey Lee Ruggles when they worked together at Broadlawns West ICF- an experimental satellite psychiatric facility of Broadlawns Sidney Sands Center in Des Moines.  She bore two sons to Jeff: Joshua Paul, and Jacob Michael, all of which are still with us. 


In the 1990’s she began to pursue and received her theological training and certification in Biblical Counseling, and eventually became a certified Biblical Counselor with the IABC. She began leading Bible Studies at Grace Fellowship in 2004, in the Spring of 2007 she began the “Walking it Out Program” and Reconciliation ministries and was eventually ordained as associate pastor on February 21, 2009.  From then on, she faithfully, vigilantly, and with great fervency served the Fort Collins community preaching in the local jail, serving the poor and homeless through teaching and food distribution, and Biblical counseling at the church.  


She will be missed, but still is alive in Paradise with Christ Jesus, and she lives in the hearts and memories of all who know her and love her.  God rest her soul, and may her memory be eternal; and may perpetual light shine upon her. 


A memorial service will be held for her at Grace Fellowship, 1201 North College Avenue,  Fort Collins, Colorado 80524 on Friday 2/24/23 @ 6:30 p.m.  


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We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Vessey Funeral Service - Fort Collins
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