CARBONDALE — Joan Martin Meade, 86, passed away peacefully at her home in Carbondale on Friday, Sept. 27, 2013, after a long illness. She was blessed to have the presence of her loving daughter, Pidge, during her final months, and her entire family is grateful for Pidge’s selfless devotion.
Born in Cleveland on March 13, 1927, she moved in her youth to Warren, Penn., where she graduated from high school. She attended Case Western Reserve University and then met and married the love of her life, William T. “Bill” Meade in 1947.
Joan lived in Chapel Hill, N.C., while her husband received his master’s degree and coached the men’s gymnastics team at UNC. She worked as executive secretary to the UNC athletic director until their son, Bill, was born. In 1956, Joan moved with her family to Carbondale, where her husband was head coach of men’s gymnastics at SIU. In 1967, they welcomed a daughter, Patricia Jane, better known as Pidge.
Joan was a loving and supportive wife and mother and a world-class booster and cheerleader, serving as den mother, brownie troop leader, room mother, her husband’s speech writer, and so much more. Her “welcome home” signs and “congratulations” banners were legendary — complete with original poetry and true artistic flair.
In addition to her own children, Joan was a surrogate mother to hundreds of gymnasts over the years, hosting chili dinners, having them over for Thanksgiving, helping them with schoolwork, advising, mentoring and cheering them on in gymnastics and their careers.
Joan adored her grandchildren, John (and his wife, Heather), Geoffrey and Allison and her “firecracker” great-granddaughter, MacKenzie. The spouses of her children — Bill’s wife, Karen, and Pidge’s husband, Dave — were not “in-laws” to her. She loved them deeply, welcomed them into the family with open arms, and cherished them as her own.
She genuinely cared about and worked for the benefit of her community all of her life and was a generous and loving friend to so many people in Carbondale. She also was blessed to have many friends, most significantly her beloved bridge playing partners known as the “Fearless Foursome,” Pat Baysinger, Imogene “Smoky” Reed and Jane Spackman.
Joan never sought the limelight; rather, she was fulfilled by enabling and supporting the endeavors of her family and friends. She wanted only to be remembered as she has always been — full of life and spirit, funny, intelligent, a great storyteller, a master card player, sensitive, generous, caring and a wonderful daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and friend.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Bill; her mother, Viola; her brother, Hal; and her sister, Jean.
In accordance with her wishes, services will be private. Huffman-Harker-Walker Funeral Home in Carbondale is in charge of arrangements.
Her family requests that, in lieu of flowers, memorial donations be made to Hospice of Southern Illinois, 305 S. Illinois St., Belleville, IL 62220 . Hospice was so wonderful, easing the way for Joan and her family during her final journey to eternal life.
Joan will be missed forever by all who loved her, but she will always be in their hearts and lives.