Joan Cosbey

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Joan M. Cosbey, nee Graf, 93, formerly of Belleville, IL and Columbia, IL, born March 29, 1930, in Belleville, IL, to Charles and Margaret, nee Buckrod, Graf, died Monday, September 11, 2023, at Sunrise Senior Living, Webster Groves, Mo.

Joan was married to Blaine Cosbey on August 12, 1950, who preceded her in death in 2008. Mrs. Cosbey joined the Ralston Purina Company, St. Louis, MO in 1951, where she worked for 46 years. Joan held various positions and at the time of her retirement in 1997, she was the director of Payroll Services and Human Resources Information Center. She was a 1947 graduate of Belleville Township High School, and a 1949 graduate of Belleville Area College (SWIC).

Joan was a worthy advisor of the Order of Rainbow for Girls, Assembly No. 4, Delta Theta Tau Sorority, Gamma Chi Chapter and Beta Alumnae, named “Boss of the Year” by the American Businesswomen’s Association, and served as a board member and treasurer for the Belle-Clair Fairgrounds, and the St. Clair County Fair Association. She was a past member of the First Presbyterian Church, Belleville, IL.

Joan was preceded in death by her loving husband of 58 years, Blaine Cosbey; her father, Charles H. Graf; her mother and stepfather, Margaret E., nee Buckrod and Arthur Sauer; and her father-in-law and mother-in-law, Frank and Helen, nee Lyons, Cosbey.

Surviving are family and special friends, Maurice and Gloria Vale of Freeburg, IL; five godchildren, Thomas H. Vale, Whelan Klemme, III, Michelle Majors Hale, William Majors, and Letitia Klemme Polasek; and her cousins, friends, and her faithful pet, Hans.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the charity of the donor’s choice. Condolences may be expressed to the family online at

Private services will be held at George Renner & Sons Funeral Home, Belleville, IL.

Entombment will be at Valhalla Gardens of Memory Mausoleum, Belleville, IL.


11 Comments on Joan Cosbey

Michelle Hale said : Guest Report Oct 28, 2023 at 10:59 PM

She was always my Aunt Joan because she and my mother, Arline Majors, were like sisters although they were cousins. She always showed so much love to my brother and me. I have many good memories of visiting her and Uncle Blaine and, of course, Hans and Gretchen over the years.

  • Evansville
  • IN
Kandace Harden said : Guest Report Oct 05, 2023 at 10:33 AM

I am related to Joan, her mother-in -law was my great aunt. It is so wonderful to read all of these fine tributes to her and a life well-lived.

  • Saratoga Srpings
  • UT - Utah
Lois Haller said : Guest Report Sep 19, 2023 at 2:06 PM

Knew Joan pretty well. She was a wonderful person. Those that knew her will agree

  • Chesterfield
  • Mo
Michelle Williams said : Guest Report Sep 15, 2023 at 9:59 PM

Joan was my first boss I will never forget how she took a chance on a 18 year old girl because of my friend recommending me to her words can’t express how that made me feel Joan was a sweet person with a kind heart I will be forever grateful for her.

  • St. Louis
  • Mo.
Jackie Miller said : Guest Report Sep 15, 2023 at 1:49 PM

What can I say that hasn't already been said - she was my 1st boss at Ralston - Coming in "green" as a 1/2day employee while going to school 1/2 day. She taught me so much about being accurate; many times I had to tear up a paper in order to get it typed correctly. We worked together over 20+ years in various positions. Checker day - 9/30- was a big event for us. She planned & executed it. Also the design and construction of "The Tower" was the responsibility of her boss (Elliott DeVeaux) which naturally passes down through the ranks. Joan exemplified honesty, hard work, loyalty & class. She loved jewelry & gave us girls so much of it. I think of her every time I wear a piece of it. She will be missed but is in a better place.

  • Millstadt
  • IL
Joe Bohning said : Guest Report Sep 14, 2023 at 5:08 PM

So sad to hear of Joan’s passing. A wonderful lady so full of life. She will be greatly missed by many at Ralston Purina. She truly bleed Checkers. May God enjoy your company as much as all of Purina did. Joe Bohning

  • St. Charles
  • Missouri
Matt & Gail Brown said : Guest Report Sep 14, 2023 at 10:29 AM

Joan was the absolute best neighbor at Gilmore Lake. Joan cared deeply about her dog, her property and the entire subdivision. She has been deeply missed since going into assisted living. RIP Joan

  • Columbia
  • Illinois
Susan Dale said : Guest Report Sep 13, 2023 at 11:01 AM

Joan was a wonderful boss, and mentor, but most of all, I was honored to call her my friend for 51 years. She was a trailblazer at Ralston Purina. She was a true leader. She was always on the go, and could run circles around us. Joan was one “classy lady!” When things got stressful at work, she would cup her hands, look at them and say…”Sue, only look at what must be done today”. God Bless you Dear Joan. I will miss you deeply, but I know you are in a better place. Please save a place for me.

  • Maryville
  • IL
Earlyn Gordon said : Guest Report Sep 13, 2023 at 8:19 AM

Joan was the best boss EVER!! I will always treasure the memories of how caring and kind she was. She took a chance on a work study student being her assistant and I will be forever grateful for her leadership and friendship. Keeping the family in prayer.

  • St. Louis
  • MO
Sandra Wies said : Guest Report Sep 12, 2023 at 9:39 PM

Joan gave me the chance to start and supervise The Store. She knew that I wanted to do this and she had the confidence in me to let me do the job. I will always love her for letting me have the responsibility to take on starting and running a part of Purina that is still going strong. I always loved her for believing in me to take on this new part of my job. I love her and always admired her. She is in heaven now with Blaine and her mom. Rest in peace my dear friend . Please tell my Harry hi for me!! Love, Sandy

  • St. Peters
  • Missouri
PJ Grabowski said : Guest Report Sep 12, 2023 at 7:00 PM

Joan was a wonderful mentor and role model for all of us at Ralston Purina. She will be greatly missed.

  • O’Fallon
  • MO

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