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Joan Steinbrenner, wife of late Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, dies

Joan Steinbrenner, wife of Yankees owner George Steinbrenner,

Joan Steinbrenner, wife of Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, throws out a ceremonial first pitch following a pregame ceremony renaming Legends Field to George M. Steinbrenner Field on March 27, 2008, in Tampa, Fla.  Credit: AP/Kathy Willens

Joan Steinbrenner, the wife of late Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, passed away at her home in Tampa, Florida, on Friday, the team announced. She was 83.

The Yankees said Joan Steinbrenner, who held the title of vice chairperson with the team, was surrounded by her family when she passed away.

“Joan was a compassionate and caring matriarch whose profound love for her family and those in the community always inspired us,” the Steinbrenner family said in a statement. “Her elegance and grace touched everyone around her, and we know her spirit will live on through her legacy of good works. We are grateful to have had her in our lives, and she will be deeply missed.”

Joan Steinbrenner, whose first name was pronounced Jo-Ann, was married to George Steinbrenner from May 12, 1956, until his death on July 13, 2010. George Steinbrenner bought the Yankees from CBS in 1973.

She is survived by four children, Hank, Jennifer, Jessica and Hal. Hal is the managing general partner of the Yankees, Hank is general partner and co-chairperson, and Jennifer and Jessica are general partners and vice chairpersons.

Joan Steinbrenner was born on Aug. 25, 1935, in Mount Vernon, Ohio. She graduated from Upper Arlington High School in Columbus, Ohio, and Ohio State University, earning a degree in dental hygiene.

According to the Yankees, Joan Steinbrenner was involved in many community projects and supported numerous philanthropic organizations during her life. While in Ohio, she worked with the Cleveland Orchestra and was involved with the Lake Erie Nature & Science Center, performing and teaching puppetry to local children.

After relocating to Florida, she was the state chairperson for the Florida Special Olympics in 1981 and 1982. She also spent two years on the board of directors of the National Society to Prevent Blindness and was a charter member of Town and Gown, formed in 1977 to form a bond between community supporters in the downtown Tampa area and the University of South Florida.

Joan Steinbrenner also was a longtime board member for Children’s Home, Inc., and was one of the original members of the H.B. Plant Museum Society. She served on the development council of the St. Joseph’s Hospital Foundation Board from 1991 to 2000, was a member of the Junior League of Tampa and The Chiselers, and  also was on the board of directors of the Florida Orchestra.

In addition to her four children, Joan Steinbrenner is survived by 14 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

The Yankees said a private family service will be held.

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