Joan Worthington Markman, died peacefully, with her son at her side, on February 18, 2021 in Lenexa, Kansas at the age of 87 years.
Joan is survived by her son, Richard Markman (Colleen) of Olathe, KS, grandchildren Tom Markman (Annie) of Ohio, Tim Markman of New York City, and numerous nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband Bill Markman and her siblings Charles Worthington, Margaret Winters, and Don Worthington.
Joan was born on January 8, 1934 in Wichita, Kansas to Rev. Frank and Caroline Worthington. She graduated from the University of Kansas in 1955 with a degree in Elementary Education. Joan began her teaching career as a third-grade teacher at Lenexa Central Elementary (later named Bonjour). She and Bill were married in 1957 and they settled in Lenexa, Kansas. Over the next 40 years, the couple dedicated their lives to their family and education. Joan spent her entire career in the Shawnee Mission school district, teaching 3 rd – 5 th grades at Bonjour, Shawanoe and Rosehill Elementary Schools. Upon her retirement in 1995, as quoted in the Lenexa Sun, Joan said “I love seeing kids smile and to see that look, like a light bulb has gone off in their heads, when they understand something I taught”. Richard remembers that his mom was the only working mother he knew. Even though his mom taught at the school he attended, which at times was scary and intimidating, Richard was proud of the fact that his mom was smart and doing something important. Growing up as a child of two educators, Richard fondly remembers the amazing, educational and lengthy summer vacations and family reunions they were able to experience every year. Richard passed this tradition on to his children and many more memorable trips are being planned.
Joan was a life-long learner. She continued her education, even after completing her Masters’ degree. She and Bill delighted in the courses they took at local colleges, and through the Osher Learning institute on a variety of topics. She stayed up to date with educational changes and used technology right up to the time of her death. She was a generous and dedicated individual who loved education and who was passionate about women’s rights and changing the world through political action. Joan was an active and dedicated member of the Overland Park Presbyterian Church, singing in the church choir, playing handbells at services, baking cookies and casseroles for church potlucks, and teaching summer bible school for many years.
Joan had strong opinions but was not opinionated. She had a strong sense of civic duty and supported a more cultured society throughout her entire life. She loved the arts and enjoyed attending plays, musicals and concerts. She was a loyal Jayhawk fan and especially loved watching the KU women’s basketball team. Best of all, she passed this love on to Richard and her grandsons and supported all of their interests from sports to the arts. Joan blazed many trails in her time, as a working mom, an avid hiker at National Parks and as a member of various local and national political action groups that worked for women’s rights and educational reform. Although she will be greatly missed by all who knew her, we are comforted by the fact that Bill and Joan are together again.
A private burial took place at the end of February for the immediate family. A Memorial Service and Celebration of Life is planned for late March. The Reverend Jason Carle will officiate the ceremony and we look forward to celebrating Joan’s life with all who are able and wish to attend. Details will be shared at a later date.
Donations in Joan’s honor can be made to Overland Park Presbyterian Church at 7810 W 79th Street, Overland Park, KS 66204 or the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation http://www.jdrf.org where a Tribute donation can be made. Online condolences may be expressed at http://www.overlandparkchapel.com
The family wishes to thank the staff and caregivers at Lakeview Long Term Care Center for their kindness and dedication over these last 6 years. We would also like to thank the Good Shepherd Hospice team for providing guidance and compassion to Joan and her family during her end-of-life care.
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Juvenile Diabetes Foundation