Joann C Cruz

January 8, 1936November 8, 2020

JoAnn Carlton Cruz, AKA Jovanna Cruz, was born on January 8, 1936 in Reading, PA. She passed away in her home in Rancho Mirage, CA with her family by her side on November 8, 2020.

Jovanna was chef owner of ‘Jovanna’s, Bistro in Palm Desert, CA for over 30 years. She spent countless passionate hours creating the delicious dishes she shared with her trademark flourish of encouragement, “It’s to die for”. She delighted in playing host and telling her many stories of adventures to customers and friends.

Prior to settling in Palm Desert Jovanna lived in Acapulco, Mexico where she co-owned Dino’s Restaurant. There she met many interesting people who became lifelong friends.

Jovanna is survived by her 3 children, David Cruz, Lisa Sipe, and Tami Kammer. Four grandchildren, Leonardo Cuellar, Christopher Cuellar, Erika Sipe and Achillez Cruz. And great granddaughter, Dani Cuellar.

Trident Society has an online Obituary page where memories and photos can be shared. Due to CoVid -19 a memorial service will be postponed until further notice.


Joann C Cruz

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Connie Oak Patton

December 12, 2020

My Auntie Jo was such a support for me and me for her when her best friend died, my Mother, Janet. I catered my husbands events and Auntie Jo took over for my Mother’s menus immediately. She had such creative ideas and twists. She had a wicked sense of humor. We laughed till we cried. One story was the night she couldn’t keep her oxygen nasal bracket in her nose. She said, “how can they put a Man on the moon and not be able to figure out how to make a tiny oxygen nose bracket stay in your nose”. I’ve known her since she lived in Wisconsin in city of whitefish bay and that was in the 60’s. She always told me she loved me and was very very positive. Hardest worker. She wouldn’t be able to watch what is happening to her community of restaurateurs during these heartbreaking times. She would cook for everyone if she was here. I will miss you and pray for you and my Mother as they were troubled with a capital T when together. At least they are out of pain. Godspeed Auntie Jo.

Catherine Oak

December 12, 2020

Jovanna was like a second mom to my sister, Connie and I. My mom, Janet Schuele Kelley, was friends with her fir 50 plus years. They often spoke 3-5 times a day,!! Were best buds and partners in crime! They loved to laugh together, cook together and just “be.”

I am sure they are now up in heaven together with my grandma, Roxy and all their guys!

Love to all of her family and friends! She was one in a million, that little Chef on the Run!! She lived her children and grandchildren unconditionally! Cito, your sacrifice being there for months before she died was amazing! She really hated being alone! Lisa your constant attention was also commendable with your wedding business and its constant demands!

Catherine Oak & Family

Dana Nelson

November 29, 2020

Our Dearest Josie will be missed very much! I’ve known her & her children my whole life. When my mom & dad brought my brother & I to Acapulco, I was 2 years old, Josie & her family were our neighbors. Fond memories of Josie & my mom sipping drinks. Josie remained in our lives after Acapulco & we spent many great times in Palm Desert. I remember going to Jovanna’s Deli & her feeding us like kings... the food was incredible! Josie was one of those people you never forget, she had more pizzazz & energy than anyone I’ve ever met. Living in Palm Desert for awhile in our transient times, she was our Mama Jo who cared & watched over us. My only regret isn’t I didn’t get to say goodbye but I know we will meet again. I will miss you, my brother will miss you & my mom - your dear friend is grieving. We love you ALWAYS!!!!! Dana

Ali McDaniel

November 26, 2020

I left a message right after Jo passed and I don’t see it here! I am dismayed.
I miss you my friend. 50 years of memories remain with me. You were quite a gal! I was young when we met in Acapulco. You were like a big sister to me. I learned so much from you! You definitely shaped my life in many ways. Those were good days! Yes, I miss you and will continue to do so. As you told me, no one leaves here but by Gods appointment. Save me a place next to you so we can laugh, reminisce and bask in the radiant light of the lord! We have many friends there! And to your 3 children and grandchildren I extend my sympathy and love. Hold her in your hearts always and know she loved you all! She was a special lady!! Always, your bud, Alikins

Kathy Markette (De Silva)

November 16, 2020

Jo & I were friends years ago when we were both living in Acapulco. One of my favorite memories was dining with Jo, Cito & my girls at her restaurant Dino’s. She was a treasured friend who enriched the lives of everyone she touched. She will always be remembered with love & prayers by my daughters & I.

Amy Bianco

November 16, 2020

Dear Family of Jovana,
When I first met your Mom, I was surprised by how down to earth and kind she was. I was her new marketing consultant at The Desert Sun, and I was proud to include her in my list of prestigious accounts. I would meet her in the rear parking lot of A Touch of Mama's, and help her carry groceries into the kitchen. She always offered me a drink, and I always accepted a tall glass of ice water. After we got to know each other, which didn't take much time, she would share her stories with me of Acapulco and you. The two things I remember most about Jo were how hard she worked and how much she loved her children. I was so saddened to read of her passing, but I know she must be cooking up a storm for everyone, or, she's got them waiting on her!
I'm sure you're cherishing your memories with her.
Rest in Peace, Sweet Jo!
Amy Bianco

Alan Marietta

November 13, 2020

I got to know Jovanna when she was doing cooking demonstrations about 27 years ago, at a business I was managing. She was such a pleasure to be around and enjoyed sharing her love of food with everyone. Dining at Jovanna's Bistro was always a treat and her passion for people and food was amazing. Rest in peace Fun Lady.