The sky was overcast as the four cars pulled into the driveway of Joyce Ruddock’s beach house on Saturday afternoon in late August.
We – and by that I mean the members of the LTC Executive Study Council – had driven to the beach from downtown Providence, R.I., where we were holding our summer meeting. Joyce and Charlie, her husband, had invited us to an afternoon cocktail party so we could see their new home.
The council is a group of 20 women who are leaders in the LTC industry. We have been meeting twice a year for 12 years. Joyce was a founding member.
Earlier that day, in our morning meeting, Joyce had shared with us how every cancer treatment tried so far had failed. Yet, she was incredibly optimistic, exclaiming the benefits of a new macrobiotic diet that she was embracing and how she hoped this would make a difference. We were all inspired by her positive “I’m not going to give up the battle” attitude.
Yet, in retrospect, we should have not been surprised by her incredibly positive attitude. Her optimism was an integral part of who she was. It encompassed her vision for the LTC industry, her corporate career and even her own personal life.
Nothing was out of bounds with Joyce, in both her thinking and intellectual approach.
Her accomplishments in our industry were huge. For years in our meetings, she had discussed her vision of LTC Partnership plans on a national level. Knowing her determination and her ability to always have her eye on the big picture and what was important, none of us doubted her ability to make Partnership a reality.
Joyce’s connection to LTC was not just insurance but encompassed her desire, mission and a passion to make the lives of our aging community more dignified and honored.
The fact that she has left us at such a young age – 58 – is a cruel irony.