Joan Ruth Heller was born in 1925 in the Bronx, NY and earned her BA at NYU in 1946. She had a long and successful career in NYC as an ad executive for 3 major cosmetic firms - Coty, Houbigant, and Yardley. She retired to the coast of Maine where she pursued golf, boating and fishing. Later she and her partner moved to Florida for half the year to continue these activities in warmer weather. Joan was a lifelong supporter and major contributor to LGBT causes and organizations. She died of terminal lung cancer in 2004, just months before her 80th birthday.