Joyce L. Chronister, 63, died of complications from cancer Thursday, Sept. 20, at her home in the arms of her family and friends. She was born at home Nov. 29, 1948 in Alton, Mo. to the late Richard Vernon Chronister and Lela Parrott Chronister. Her maternal grandmother, Nora Elizabeth Parrott, was mid-wife for her birth. Joyce, renamed JO by her niece Carey Voss who as a baby could not say Joyce, graduated with a master's degree in special education from the University of Central Arkansas.
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She found that she had a passion for working with children with special needs. She worked at the Conway Human Development Center, Warren Development Center, and moved to Memphis, Tenn. where she worked for several public schools with children with special needs. At Riverview Middle School JO taught standards and curriculum to special needs students in all subjects. JO volunteered after school sell tickets at football games, kept score at basketball games, chaperoned school dances, and sold snacks at the concession stand.
Many times JO purchased food and supplies from her own pocket for her children who did not have money. She started and coached the middle school golf team for several years. JO worked as liaison between the state of Tennessee and Memphis City schools for special needs students. JO was a Christian having professed her faith in Jesus at age 10.
JO was preceded in death by her parents and her life partner, Ricki Lynn Gabbard. She is survived by her sisters, Nancy Steinbeck (Jewell) and Ruth Voss of Conway, and one brother Richard Bruce Chronister (Gretta) of Little Rock. She is survived by nieces Shannon Loyd (Barry), Jennifer Victory (Tim), Carey Voss (Ben Jones), and nephews Jeff Steinbeck (Karen), Bruce Chronister, many great-nieces and nephews, and her beloved dogs, Gizmo, Ace, and Journey. According to her wishes, her body was donated to the Medical Education and Research Institute for scientific research.
A memorial celebration of JO's life will be held on Oct. 13 at 3p.m. at 31 Crappie Lane in Conway. Memorial donations may be made to the Faulkner County Library, 1900 Tyler Street, Conway, AR 72032.
Published in The Log Cabin Democrat from Sept. 27 to Oct. 4, 2012