Joan was born in Pontiac, Illinois, where she attended grade and high schools. She graduated from Illinois Wesleyan University with a BS in Elementary Education. She taught six, seventh, and eighth grades in Park Ridge Schools for seventeen years. Joan primarily taught in language arts but with the final two years as director of the Gifted Program for two junior high schools. She left teaching to join her husband, Paul, in his family business, Rubschlager Baking Corporation, which they sold in 2014 in its one-hundred first year of business. Since that time, they have enjoyed traveling which they were previously unable to do as well as greater participation in various non-profits, primarily in the fields of medical research and community service.