Joan Swanson Scannell

Joan Patricia Swanson Scannell died peacefully in her sleep on March 13, 2017. Jo was born on December 3, 1931 in Chicago, Illinois to parents Walter C. and Susan Blake Swanson, and later moved to Akron, Ohio. Jo married Dale Scannell in February 1952. She is survived by her children: Steve and spouse Lynn, grandchildren Sara and Daniel; Jeff and spouse Kathy, grandchildren Travis, Jeremy and Kelly, and great-grandchildren Julian and Jordan; Susan and spouse Teri; Janet and spouse Beth, grandchildren Allison and Brian; and by her ex-husband Dale and his wife Marilyn. She was preceded in death by her parents, her maternal aunt Gertrude Neudeck, and by paternal aunts Grace Trafford and Florence Swanson.

Jo attended Shimer College and graduated from the University of Iowa with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech/Drama, with a minor in English/Education. She earned a Master of Arts degree from the University of Kansas in Radio/TV/Film with a focus on education. She taught English and Latin at Lawrence-area schools, and speech and debate at Iowa City High School. She worked as Assistant to the Dean at Baker University in Baldwin City for five years. She served as Program Assistant for the KU Department of Chemistry for sixteen years, where she was responsible for coordinating the confidential review and publishing of several hundred technical manuscripts per year in the prestigious Journal of the American Chemical Society. She was highly respected and renowned for her attention to deadlines, details and accuracy.

Jo was also a licensed real estate salesperson, and over the years owned and renovated many rental properties near KU and in other Lawrence neighborhoods. She was an active member of the Lawrence Board of Realtors.

Jo was active in a number of social organizations. She served as Cubmaster for her sons’ Cub Scout pack, and as a Troop Services Director and member of the Lawrence Girl Scouts Committee overseeing the Hidden Valley camp. Jo was an active and proud member of the Delta-Delta-Delta sorority, and of the KU University Women’s Club. Jo served on the Centennial Elementary School PTA and was active in numerous fund drives, including the United Fund.

Jo was a long-time member of Plymouth Congregational Church in Lawrence, and served the church on many committees and as a member of the Board of Deacons. She was a co-chair of the Pastoral Search Committee that successfully hired long-time Pastor Butch Henderson in 1972.

Jo was widely admired for her skills planning and hosting social events for the KU School of Education faculty and staff while Dale served as Dean of Education, and for her multi-tasking abilities while she juggled the simultaneous demands of mother, wife, teacher, committee member, realtor, administrator and volunteer. She also enjoyed organizing pot luck dinners and playing in bridge clubs for many years, where she frequently served as a ‘rules moderator’ for those groups.

Jo loved the theater, and performed in several local community theater plays. She also assisted with writing and directing numerous volunteer theatrical productions for church and other social groups. Jo also loved entering contests. In 1960 she was a contestant on both Truth or Consequences and the Price is Right, winning an oven, a mink stole and a trampoline. Soon after that she won a Popsicle Red Ball Express ride-on electric train and track. In the mid-1960’s she won the Lawrence Journal-World’s weekly football contest three times in one season, for a free turkey each time and a family photo-op in the paper.

A memorial service will be held at Plymouth Congregational Church on March 22nd at 10am. Private family graveside services will be held in Strawberry Point, Iowa. The family encourages memorial donations in her name to Theatre Lawrence or Plymouth Congregational Church, in care of the Rumsey-Yost Funeral Home.