Joni Lisa Thompson passed away on December 9th, 2013. She was born in 1963 in Sikeston, Missouri
She obtained a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Kansas. Joni was a curator and lecturer in the field of art history and traveled to Italy, India, Nepal, Tibet and China as well as many U.S. universities. She was a longtime faculty member of the Haskell Indian Nations University College of Arts and Sciences, founder of the Haskell Film Club and citizen of the Muscogee Creek Nation.
She was preceded in death by her father, Ray Thompson. She is survived by her mother, Shirley Thompson, brother Ray Thompson II, sister Gina Baun, her children Dustin Murphy and Amanda Murphy as well as her beloved grandson, Alex “Poncho” Thompson.
Joni is survived by Colan Medicine Horse, whom she married in 2012.
Traditional native honoring services will be attended by family.
Memorials in her name to the American Cancer Society or the Spencer Museum of Art would be welcome and appreciated.
Online condolences may be sent to rumsey-yost.com
Messages & Condolences
I’ve been holding off because I hardly know how to summarize my experiences with Joni. I’ll just say that it has been an honor for me to have started with Joni in the role of teacher and to have ended up in the role of student. While during our periodic lunches together it always seemed that our small talk ended up considering big fears, such as the demise of the planet earth and humanity as we know it — but this would be in the same breath as discussions of down-to-earth problems of family, dogs & cooking. I’ll miss Joni’s anger, humor and honesty and I’ll do my best to carry them forward.
Its hard to believe someone with such luminous presence is gone.I considered Joni as a second Mother. She was one of my bestfriends and always had a way of cheering me up and making me believe in myself.She had a unique presence that will never be matched and will be greatly missed by many.R.I.P Joni and when its my time I will see you on the other side. Love and miss you.
I’m sure going to miss you Joni. Hearing your delight in sharing something special Poncho whispered to you. Or maybe would be about Ace, ‘the best dog in the world’. Or your students, how you were so proud of them & their journeys. I remember once you told me of seeing one after several years. He started to explain who he was, you stopped him and asked about his brother, I believe. By name, even the brother !! You were so tickled by his surprise, but you said you remembered every student you ever had. I don’t doubt it. You loved hearing what they were up to ‘these days’. You had a great insight & love for people. Most of all “OK Girl”, I’ll miss your Very wicked sense of humor…. I’m thankful for our conversations — from the ‘isn’t-it-funny-that…’ chats that veered from bad pizza to politics, to travel & art; favorite books, ‘girl talk’, and even religion & spirituality. God bless & keep you in peace Joni. I’m missing your Good Heart being just a quick phone call away. My prayers to your loved ones.
Joni and I were classmates at Haskell. Talk about a smart native woman, I was so proud of her when she went on to obtain her doctorial degree. Joni loved her students and she loved teaching. She made a difference in many of her student’s lives. Condolences to her family. Rest in peace Joni, we love you and will miss your smile and friendship.
Joni was a marvelous inspiration. She was a warm, caring person and wonderful with her students. If she thought any of them had been wronged, she could really be tough on their behalf. She was a very engaging conversationalist and loved her field and the fact that she could pass this love on to her students. Our condolences to her family, her students, her colleagues, and her friends.
Joni and I got to be friends in grad school at KU, particularly when we took the MA exam together. After that I got to know her family a little, attended events at Haskell. Our birthdays are a day apart in June, so we had our birthday lunches at El Mezcal. I’m so sorry that there won’t be any more.
My thoughts go out to Joni’s Mother, Shirley, whom I met recently in Topeka, and to the rest of her family. I had Joni as a teacher and it was her sense of humor that was apparent most of all. I wished that I had gotten to know her better.
Joni will be greatly missed. My thoughts and prayers
go out to the family, her friends and all who knew her
at Haskell. She was an inspiration to many.
Dear Dusty, Mandy, Mrs. Thompson, Gina, Ray, Poncho, and Colan,
Joni’s greatness of spirit will be remembered by so many of us. And so will her brilliance. Where I have already seen it shine, and know it will continue on is through you, Dusty, and Mandy, and Poncho. I saw how dearly she loved you. And I know how steadfast all of you have been.
Joni told the best stories in the world. She was generous and shared many gifts. Our prayers to Dusty, Mandy, Shirley, Gina, Ray and oh gosh Pancho. And Ace, too.
Your mom was my friend and help me become the artist I am today. I owe her a lot. Rest in Peace LambChop……………….
My prayers go out to Joni’s family. She was loved by many and will be missed. Rest in peace and love, Joni.
We rode alot of miles on horses, tried really hard for a few years to turn our mothers gray, the world wont be the same without you in it, I was blessed to know you and consider you a friend, my prayers are with your family.
My heart goes out to her family and all her dear friends. She sounds like a wonderful person… yet another great human being taken way too soon.
Bless you all.
Joni was a great friend and instructor. She was always friendly with students and employees. I had the opportunity to work with her for several years when I was the assistant to the Dean of Humanities. Her students loved her classes and she treated them with respect and was very personable. Students are away from home needed someone at Haskell to turn to for support and love and she was there to give it. She will be greatly missed.
such a shock to learn of Jonis death while I am in Virginia for what should be a very merry Christmas, Joni taught me as much as I taught her and I still miss her, the flags from Nepal still hang over my desk, Thank you, Joni
Rest In Peace Joni, you were a good teacher, your had humor in class, you cared about your students. You will be miss. Aho’
I will miss Joni, she was full of life and loved the students at Haskell. I enjoyed getting to know her as a co-worker. May God’s love and peace be with her family and friends during this time.
To Joni’s family and loved ones I send my condolences.
Although she and I did not share a deep friendship, we shared a commitment to education and beauty.
She was tough as nails and made the best of it.
I hope that where ever Joni is today, that her awesome spirit brings comfort to those who mourn her passing.
a tsa we so lv s di o gi na li
anadudalv hawi di tlvnv wa do hi ya da o gi na li.
Joni was my first friend. We hit it off on the first day of kindergarten. She was a tiny little thing, but wasn’t a bit afraid of other kids on the bus. I was petrified, but she sat with me, and we had great times! I saw her in Lawrence awhile back, and she seemed so happy. She had just gotten married and was preparing for a big art show. We talked and caught up on each other’s lives. Glad I had that last chat with her. My thoughts and prayers are with Shirley, Ray and Gina.
Joni was a great mentor in my life. She taught me so much and went over and beyond what most professors would do for their students. I am blessed to have spent time with her and have known her so well these years and months of her life. I always went to her for help in anything. I will truly miss her humor and loving self. I will miss having lunch together on Mass street, helping her to her doctor visits and being a great friend to her. My thoughts and prayers are for forever with her. I’m glad I met her because she taught me how to be an excellent writer and have confidence in myself. Love you Joni, Rest in Peace my friend.
Joni will be missed by many. I am blessed to have been able to call her my friend. Prayers for the entire family.
There are no words that can take away your pain. Even though the miles have kept us apart for some time, I continue to think of you all as my extended family. Much love & hugs to all of you. May you find peace in this difficult time.
Psalm 23 ~ The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemes; thou annointest my headwith oil; my cup runneth over Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. and I will dwell in the house of The Lord forever. Amen. Rest in Paradise Ms. Murphy and thank you for your selfless contributions to Haskell Indian Nations University and students. You will be greatly missed.
My heart goes out to you and your family. You will all be in our thoughts and prayers. If we can be of any help please lets us know.
Joni was a bright student in my classes twenty-some years ago, then as a colleague she brought wonderful new ideas to Haskell. We’re so sad to lose you, Joni.
Joni was a great friend since the early 90’s. She accomplished so much and I am proud to have known her as a teacher, friend, and mentor. I owe her many a thank you’s for all her assistance throughout my college career. Haskell has lost a wonderful faculty member that was always willing to assist students in every aspect of their college journeys. She will be dearly missed.
My husband and I never had the opportunity to meet Joni. Our sympathy and prayers to the entire family. Celebrate her life!
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