Joan Marie Lerche Veach Stewart died Friday (Oct. 4, 2013) in her home in Quincy after a courageous battle with cancer.
Joan was born Dec. 7, 1929, in Keokuk, Iowa, a daughter of Annabel Keach Lerche and Theodore Louis Lerche of Elvaston. She married V. Wayne Veach of Bowen and later Francis J. Stewart. They are both deceased.
Joan attended the First Presbyterian Church of Elvaston. During most of her grade school and high school years, she resided with her maternal grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. A.J. Lively. She graduated with high honors from Elvaston High School in 1947 and attended Western Illinois University in Macomb.
In Bowen, she attended the Christian Church, was a past president of the American Legion Auxiliary, and past president of the Home Bureau and a 4-H Leader. In the 1950s, Joan and Wayne moved to Elvaston, where he became affiliated with her grandfather, A.J. Lively, in his home decorating business. Joan was active in her daughter's school and was president of the Hamilton PTA. She also became active in Democratic politics as a precinct committeeman in Prairie Precinct. Later they moved to Carthage where she was a precinct committeewoman. She was assistant county chairman of the Hancock County Democratic Central Committee.
She was a member of First Presbyterian Church, a Sunday school teacher, as well as belonging to the Ladies Evening Bible Group.
Joan worked for the state of Illinois Department of Registration and Education as a field investigator from 1960-1968 and from 1968-1970 for Secretary of State at the Illinois State Library as a secretary receptionist in Springfield. In 1967, she moved to Hamilton and became precinct committeeman in Montebello Precinct. She received her real estate agent's license in 1965 and worked with Hackett Realty of Carthage, Bower Realty and Northern Realty of Quincy.
When she moved to Quincy, she became a past worthy matron of Alpha Chapter Order of the Eastern Star, a past worthy high priestess of the Order of the White Shrine of Jerusalem, and past grand officer of the state of Illinois for the Order of the Eastern Star in 1996. She and the nine other appointed grand officers traveled the state visiting the Order of the Eastern Star chapters during the year. They also visited the Grand Chapters of other states. She and four other grand officers accompanied the worthy grand matron, Margarite Bronkola, to the Grand Chapter of Canada during the year and returned home by way of Niagara Falls, one of her grand memories. Joan was very proud of her appointment since she was the second appointed grand officer of the Mississippi Valley area of the Order of the Eastern Star in a number of years.
She worked for AAA Chicago Motor Club Insurance for 16 years as an insurance and securities agent. She received much recognition as an agent with plaques, luncheons and trips. She retired in 1995. In 1997 and 1998, she was a salesperson for United Church Directories and traveled in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri and Arkansas with their photography department. She quit in 1998 and went to work for Fred Meyer Jewelers in the Quincy Mall as a salesperson. She retired again in 2008.
Joan enjoyed her fraternal organizations, but her biggest joy was being able to care for her grandchildren and enjoying time with her family. In the late 1980s, she enjoyed a three-week vacation trip to England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland and France, a surprise trip from some friends. She always said, "If I never get to do one more thing, I have done a lot and enjoyed a lot in my life."
She is survived by five grandchildren, Jason Jack Johnson and his fiancÃ©, Dacia Quinn, of Clayton, Jerome Vincent Lee and wife, Renee, of Hamilton, and Paula Sue Johnson, Tara Mae Johnson (Bobby Harrison) and Melinda Marie Boyd and her husband Justin, all of Quincy; six great grandchildren, Truman, Skylar and Landon Dickson, Kyra Calfee, Cruze Boyd and Liam Parrish, all of Quincy; and two stepgrandchildren, Shannon and James Gorham of Hamilton.
She was preceded in death by her daughters, Bonita Joann (Bonnie Jo) Lee of Hamilton, and Marla Sue Johnson of Quincy; her mother, Annabel Randolph, and father, Theodore Lerche, of Quincy; maternal grandparents, Arch and Ella Lively of Elvaston; paternal grandparents, Theodore and Clara Hahn, of Franklin, Iowa; and one uncle, Albert Lerche of Des Moines, Iowa.
SERVICES: A private family graveside service will be held at a later date.
MEMORIALS: Have been established in memory of Joan Stewart.
ARRANGEMENTS: Lamporte-St. Clair Funeral Home, Hamilton.