Joanna Befke DeRing(1937 - 2014)

Joanna Befke DeRing

Joanna Befke DeRing, a native of Plant City, FL, died May 11, 2014 with her children at her side. In life, she radiated beauty and happiness with her smile. She was smart, optimistic, entrepreneurial, and self-reliant. This is how we will always remember her.

The family would like to thank the staff at Spring Meadows Health Care Center of Clarskville, TN and in particular, Anne Aguado and Lucy Lauer, for their care and compassion.

Befke was born on November 5, 1937 to John Sidney DeRing, DVM, and Annie Lou Coleman DeRing, RN, in Plant City, FL. As a child, she played with her sister Barbara at their father's veterinary practice and at their grandparents' dairy nearby. Here she developed a lifelong passion for the outdoors and animals. She later metered the rhythm of her life to the care and companionship of her dogs, cats, and horses. She fulfilled her dream of owning a horse at age 37 and rode into her late 60s. Through riding, she found good friends and mentors, accumulated great knowledge of equine husbandry, learned many life lessons, and had great adventures.

She graduated from Hillsborough High School in 1955 and from Auburn University in 1959. She was a member of the inaugural pledge class for the Gamma Omega chapter of Kappa Alpha Theta social sorority. She married William Douglas McIntosh, Jr. of Mobile, AL, also a graduate of Auburn. They raised their two children in Nashville, TN: William Douglas McIntosh, a medical doctor in Clarksville, TN and Joanna Katrina McIntosh, a lawyer in Washington, DC. Befke was an active member of the First Presbyterian Church of Nashville and believed deeply in the power of prayer throughout her life.

In college she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in textile engineering. After ten years of homemaking, she began teaching textiles at the newly opened O'More College of Design in Franklin, TN. She also served as the school's first Dean of Students. In 1978, she relocated to Sarasota, FL with William Wayne Blackwelder of Nashville, TN, her second husband and eventually opened "Befke," her own business selling high-end floor covering to the trade. In Sarasota, she made many good friends through work, sailing, and riding and enjoyed living on a canal at St. Armand's Key. She sold the business in 2004, took care of her grandchildren in Clarskville, TN, and subsequently built a new home on the edge of the Ocala National Forest with Dave Bear of Siesta Key, FL, her beloved companion.

Befke is survived by her son and daughter; her daughter-in-law, Dr. Lisa McIntosh of Corunna, MI; grandsons, John, Douglas and Jackson; her brother-in-law, George Polous; her nephew, Chris and niece Fran, and Dave.

There will be a Memorial service at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 17th at the Neal-Tarpley-Parchman Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, please send your memories of Befke to Joanna McIntosh at 808 21st St., Arlington, VA 22202 and memorials to the Cure Alzheimer's Fund,, or the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria,

Arrangements entrusted to Neal-Tarpley-Parchman Funeral Home, 1510 Madison Street, Clarksville, TN 37040. Online condolences may be made at


Funeral Home

Neal-Tarpley-Parchman Funeral Home
1510 Madison Street Clarksville, TN 37040
(931) 645-6488

Published in The Leaf Chronicle on May 16, 2014