Joan (Joanie) Alice Anderson

April 16 1944 – November 29, 2023

Joanie Anderson, age 79, from Lawrence, Kansas, died peacefully at the University of Kansas Hospital after suffering a head injury because of a fall.

Here was a woman who was never, ever neutral.

Joanie was one of three children born to Paul and Frances (Hahn) Anderson. She was born in California but moved to Osage City, Kansas, shortly after. Her father had been a labor organizer, but a back injury caused him to return to the Midwest to help run the family’s dry goods store.

Union solidarity and small-town independence influenced her at an early age, and the traits remained with her throughout her life.

Joanie had a large family born to Swedish immigrants. Her grandfather, Johan Aldolf Anderson worked in the coal mines in Osage City and, along with his wife Josephine Anderson, raised a family of five. As a young girl, Joanie developed an appreciation of Swedish food, delight in the majesty of elm trees, and joy in a well-told story.

After graduating from Osage City High School, Joanie attended KU in Lawrence, KS before deciding to move to Kansas City for what she described as a hiatus from responsibility.

In KC, Joanie became a founding member of The Foolkiller, a cultural center managed by volunteers to host and produce one-act plays, weekend folk opry events, concerts, and open mic walk-ons. Parties generally followed every event held at a nearby communal house. Joanie gravitated toward political conversation in the dining room and the freestyling acoustic jam sessions in the living room.

Joanie collected a wide circle of friends in KC, most of whom she kept throughout her life. She was active in the civil rights movement and stood for social justice. She continued to honor those beliefs when she left KC to live closer to her family. She began work in health care in Topeka providing administrative support at a hospital.

Joanie’s last move was to Lawrence, Kansas, where she became happily involved with her sister, brother, and their families. She shared a house with her mother and enjoyed learning gardening from a master. She had a long and satisfying career at Lawrence Memorial Hospital, serving as a Utilization Reviewer. She brought to her job the same close attention to detail that she used to create intricate bead accessories. And she would never hesitate to stop and start over to get a better result.

Joanie was generous, loyal, and hilarious. She liked bees, trees, books, and Dorothy Parker quotes. She listened to Steppenwolf’s Born to Be Wild on repeat, slayed crossword puzzles, and loved Babe, a rescue wonder dog. She could recite The Shooting of Dan McGrew from start to finish from memory. She made killer rice pudding but not much else.

She believed the youngest members of her family were beautiful, handsome, intelligent, and destined for great things. Her biggest regret may be that she cannot cheer them on in person. She will be sorely missed in the grandstands.

Joanie was preceded in death by her parents, sister, Sondra Pence, and brother, Joe Anderson. She is survived by her nephew, Jason Bogard, and his husband, Demond; niece Cindi Long, and her husband, Dennis; grand nephews, Nicolas and Carter Long, along with many close cousins, their families, and friends.