Joan Wildridge Sloan

December 08, 1926 - May 17, 2023


Obituary For Joan Wildridge Sloan

Joan Wildridge Sloan, wife of the late Norman L. Sloan, Jr, passed away in Raleigh on May 17, 2023, from complications related to dementia. She was 96 years old.

Joan (pronounced Jo-Ann) was born in Indianapolis, Indiana on December 8, 1926, to Marjorie Callender Wildridge and Gilbert Jennings Wildridge. She met her husband, Norman L. Sloan, Jr., when they were high school students at Lawrence Central High School in Indianapolis. Joan was the daughter of well-to-do parents and Norm was the son of farmers and was an athlete. To Joan’s parents they were not a good match. To Joan and Norm, they were the perfect couple. They married on June 13, 1948, and enjoyed 55 years of marriage. Norm passed away on December 9, 2003, and Joan remained in love with him until the moment she passed. For many of her last years, Joan asked her children and her caregivers for the 2 pills that would allow her to depart earth and be with Norm once again.

Joan was a singer, a mezzo soprano, and studied music at the University of Indiana, Bloomington, and at The Curtis Institute in Philadelphia. After graduation, she moved to Chicago to pursue a singing career. In Chicago she encountered the less pleasant side of breaking into the music industry and decided instead to return to Indiana and marry Norm, who had returned after serving in the Navy at the end of WWII and was playing football, basketball, baseball and running track at NC State University. After getting married they moved to Raleigh where Norm continued his athletic career.

Their daughter Deborah was born in Raleigh in 1951, the year Norm graduated from NC State. After graduation Norm, Joan and Debbie moved to Clinton, South Carolina where Norm became the head basketball coach of Presbyterian College. While at Presbyterian Joan began singing the national anthem before each basketball game and continued this tradition until the very last game Norm coached at the University of Florida in 1989. Son Michael was born in 1953 in Clinton, South Carolina at Presbyterian Hospital and daughter Leslie was born in 1955 in Memphis, Tennessee where Norm was an assistant coach at Memphis State University.

The family later moved to Charleston, SC where Norm coached The Citadel from 1956 to 1960; to Gainesville, Florida where Norm coached the University of Florida from 1960 to 1966; to Raleigh, NC where Norm coached the NC State University basketball team from 1966 to 1980, then back to the University of Florida where he again coached the UF Basketball team from 1980 to 1989. Joan was by Norm’s side with every move and sang the national anthem before every game. Norm and Joan were an inseparable couple who loved each other without reservation.

Joan loved her grandchildren and great grandchildren dearly. They were the light of her life. She leaves behind her grandson Benji Hollis, his wife LeeAnna and their daughter Everlee of Buford, Georgia; her granddaughter Blake Johnson, husband Jay, their son Worth and daughter Campbell of Wilmington, NC; their granddaughter Tayler Wright, husband Matthew and their sons Braeden and Tanner of Raleigh; and granddaughter Wendi Donehoo, her son Christopher and daughter Michaela of Atlanta. Joan is survived by her three children, Debbie and her husband Stuart Banks of Atlanta; son Mike and his husband, Tom Wilhelm, of Spello (Umbria), Italy; and daughter Leslie and husband Biff Nicholls of Raleigh.

Also surviving are Joan’s sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Mary Jo and Chuck Hall of Rock Hill, South Carolina, and sister-in-law Janet Shrigley of Raleigh. She also leaves behind many wonderful cousins, nieces, and nephews, especially on the Sloan side of the family.

Joan’s extended family included a very large group of former men’s college basketball players who played for Norm. Joan appreciated you and sincerely cared for each of you. Many of these men continued to visit her over the years including David Thompson, Tommy Burleson, Eddie Biedenbach, Monte Towe, and others. Thank you to each and every player who played for Norm.

Joan was predeceased by her husband, Norman Leslie Sloan in 2003; by her most perfect 6-year-old great granddaughter, Anna Charles Hollis in September 2018; her brother Gilbert ‘Bud’ Wildridge, and her parents Gilbert Jennings Wildridge and Marjorie Callender Wildridge.

We are so happy that Joan is now back with Norm and playing with great granddaughter AC in heaven.

Joan loved to sing and was a member of a number of church choirs during her time, including at Edenton Street Methodist Church in the 2000’s. She loved her dogs, which included 3 Shih Tzu’s named Shin, Bunny and Shin2.

The family would like to thank the incredible women who work at The Rosewood Cottage at Cypress of Raleigh. You took care of Joan with great compassion and caring. You are very special people.

There will be no memorial service.

If you care to recognize Joan with a donation, please donate to a dog rescue organization of your choice. Expressions of sympathy may be sent to Renaissance Funeral Home at 7615 Six Forks Rd, Raleigh, NC 27615.

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  • May 21, 2023

    Watched her sing many times at the Coliseum. Met her at Coach Sloan's statue dedication on 2016. Her personality was as wonderful as her beautiful singing voice.She and Coach Sloan brought our Wolfpack Nation a lot of special memories. God bless this wonderful lady and may she rest in Peace.

  • May 20, 2023

    I will always remember Mrs. Sloan singing the National Anthem before each game. I would sometimes look at Coach Sloan to watch his adoration and love for his wife. So glad they are together again. Blessings to the Sloan family.

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