February 2021 | Written by Maribeth Griessel
The Editorial Board for The Porch will be visiting with various Gashland members and volunteers over the next several months. Please get to know Joanne King through the highlights of a delightful visit with her. If you attend the 11:00 service on the first and second Sundays of the month, you will be welcomed by this long time FirsTeam member as she greets you upon your entry. If you have young ones attending Children’s Church, they are well acquainted with Mrs. King, as she teaches this group on the third and fourth Sundays of the month.
In addition to her volunteer positions at GEPC, this busy lady fills two jobs. She is in her fourteenth year as an elementary school library paraprofessional, working at Clardy, Linden West, and Ravenwood. You may also encounter her at the Kohls Store near Metro North, where she works part time.
Joanne has been married to her husband, Dennis, for 37 years, and they have been blessed with three children. Oldest son, John, lives in the KC area, employed in commercial real estate. Mike is currently living in Washington, D.C., and is an online student in law school at Northwestern in Chicago. Their daughter, Betsy, provides them with special travel opportunities as she is helping create tax software in Helsinki, Finland.
A lady who has lived in many places, Joanne was born in Syracuse, NY and moved to Oklahoma City, OK during 4th grade. She lived there until leaving to attend The College of Wooster, in Ohio….she reports it took her three years to lose her Oklahoma accent! Her major was sociology, minoring in psychology. Joanne believes her most interesting job was working with the grounds crew during her college years, trimming hedges, mowing, weeding, providing snow removal, and keeping the golf course in good shape. (GEPC maintenance folks….need any experienced help?) She states her most difficult/challenging job was four years as residence hall director while in grad school at Ball State University earning an MA in Student Personnel Administration in Higher Education…..but thankfully she wasn’t too busy to meet her future husband there!
Dennis and Joanne moved to Kansas City 26 years ago from Arizona. After visiting a handful of other churches, many where people didn’t even bother to say hello, they were joyfully welcomed to Gashland, which conveniently is only ten minutes from their home.
Her church background is extensive….raised in a Methodist church (born into a line of Methodist ministers), attended an Episcopal high school, Presbyterian college, worked at a Catholic college, along with time in the Dutch Christian Reformed denomination. While active in Bible Study Fellowship, Joanne served as children’s leader for six years. One of her favorite scriptures is Joshua 1:9, “Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
She leaves us with this thought….”The thing about volunteering….God always surprises you with the blessings that come out of nowhere when you put yourself forward….when you’re not excited about doing it at first, God opens up new understandings, new relationships, God blesses you!”