1936 - 2014
March 29, 1936
May 8, 2014
Former Missouri Governor Joseph Patrick Teasdale died peacefully and surrounded by family May 8, 2014 in Kansas City, Mo. He was 78 years old. Born on March 29, 1936, in Kansas City, he was the son of the late William Teasdale and Adah Downey Teasdale. He will be remembered for his public service, his sense of humor, and his unwavering love of family. His wife of 41 years is the former Theresa Ferkenhoff. A devout Catholic, Gov. Teasdale graduated from Rockhurst High School, where he is in the Athletic Hall of Fame for his performances in basketball, baseball, and football. He earned an undergraduate degree from Rockhurst University and a law degree in 1960 from Saint Louis University School of Law. From 1962 to 1966, he served as an assistant U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri in Kansas City, and during this post, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force Reserve. In 1966, he became the youngest person in Jackson County history to be elected as prosecuting attorney. The Kansas City Junior Chamber of Commerce named him Outstanding Man of the Year in 1969. During his 1972 run for governor, Gov. Teasdale trekked across the state of Missouri to meet the people and earned the nickname 'Walkin' Joe.' He lost the 1972 election but the next year married the love of his life, Theresa. He ran again in 1976, and pulled off one of the major political upsets of the era to serve as Missouri governor from 1977-1981. During his tenure, Gov. Teasdale fought for good government, with strict ethical standards and curbs on growth and spending. He focused on the needs of Missouri seniors, establishing the state's first Division of Aging, and he advocated for those with mental health concerns. He also pardoned 71 firefighters jailed for going on strike despite a county court order. Although Gov. Teasdale took pride in his public service, he considered his greatest life role being a family man and his crowning achievements marrying a wife he loved dearly and raising three sons. He adored his father, who was his best friend and mentor, and he was close with each of his three sisters. He enjoyed cocktail hour and mandatory family dinners, where he captivated his audience with hilarious stories. He was an avid hunter and loved taking fishing trips. People were drawn to him. Whether playing cards, playing handball, or just comparing stories, he thrived on social occasions, and no matter where he went, he always ran into someone he knew. He is survived by his wife, Theresa, and their three sons, Bill (Colleen), John, and Kevin (Kristin), all of Kansas City, and his grandchildren, Joseph Patrick II, Robby, Kieran, Mary Grace, and J.J. Other survivors include two sisters, Sr. Bernadette Marie Teasdale, SCL, Denver, Colo., and Ginny (Bill) Keenan, Franktown, Colo., and his nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and his sister, Maureen Galey. The Rosary will be prayed at 5:00 p.m. Monday, May 12 at St. Thomas More Catholic Church, 11822 Holmes Road, Kansas City, MO, followed by the visitation until 7:30 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial will be at 11:00 a.m., Tuesday, May 13, at St. Thomas More. Private burial. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to St. Thomas More, Conception Abbey in Conception, Mo., the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, or the Vincentian Order. Condolences may be left online at Arrangements, McGilley State Line Chapel, 12301 State Line Road, Kansas City, MO, 64145 M

To plant trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published by Kansas City Star from May 10 to May 11, 2014.
5:00p.m. - 7:30p.m.
St. Thomas More Catholic Church
11822 Holmes Road, Kansas City, Missouri
St. Thomas More Catholic Church
11822 Holmes Road, Kansas City, Missouri
Mass of Christian Burial
St. Thomas More Catholic Church
11822 Holmes Road, Kansas City, Missouri
Funeral services provided by:
McGilley Memorial Chapel
Add a Message
26 Entries
I know you're watching over all of us in heaven. Miss you Joe. Your paralegal and confidant.
February 5, 2017
I remember Joe and his parents from family gatherings as a kid. My mom was his moms first cousin. He made an impression on me back then and I was proud to have known him. Still have a photo of me standing by him some summer in some relative backyard. You are in our prayers
Jan Duff Steward-Martin
May 19, 2014
My condolences to the Teasdale family on the loss of Joe. I have wonderful memories of Joe. One of my favorites is from 1968, when I was in the Air Force, just returned from Vietnam. Joe and George Lehr took me to the 7th game of the World Series in St. Louis. Unfortunately Detroit beat St. Louis, but it was a wonderful trip and I thank Joe for it. He was a wonderful man and will be missed by all that knew him.
David Millin
May 15, 2014
You and your entire family are in my thoughts and in my prayers. Long before You are ready I know you said goodbye to your dad, be comforted knowing there are those in a far more beautiful place saying "Welcome Home!" Matthew
W Matthew Leisman
May 13, 2014
Our Regrets to the Teasdale Family. In thoughts and prayers, we're with you today.
Pat & Marcia
(2nd cousins)
Marcia Thompson
May 13, 2014
My family and I worked for Joe Teasdale on both of his statewide campaigns. He provided skilled, ethical and honest leadership for the State of Missouri. My love and Prayers to you, Theresa and your sons, Bill, John and Kevin. Joe has gone to his reward from God that he so faithfully served. Your friends, Harv and Judith Moriarty Ebers
Harv and Judith Moriarty Ebers
May 13, 2014
Our family sends condolences to all of you. We are so sorry for your loss. You are the legacy he has left. You are all wonderful boys. Our prayers to you.
Cathie and Rick Thomas
May 12, 2014
Joe's family and friends
I want you to know I am joining my prayers to all of yours as we accompany Joe on his journey to heaven and the place God has prepared for him with the greatest care.
I met Joe when he was playing baseball for St Elizabeth school in fifth grade and have enjoyed his friendship ever since. So many events shared with him and almost all bring a smile to my heart. He got to do so many wonderful things in his life and the Lord remembers and will reward each of them. May you be comforted in your time of loss
Father Luke Byrne S.J.
May 12, 2014
Lunches on Tuesday with Joe and others were very memorial and special. The guys always enjoyed getting together. Joe was a true friend to all. Our prayers and thoughts to the Teasdale family. With our sympathy the Mike Renner family.
Mike Renner
May 12, 2014
I was sorry to hear of "Uncle Joe's" passing. He & Theresa were always so kind to us while I was part of the family. Christmas get together was always fun when we got to participate. Looks like there are many more grand children to carry on his legacy.
Denise Galey
May 12, 2014
Bill, John, and Kevin:
Just wanted to send my condolences your way after hearing about your dad. I know that you will miss him, but you are reflections of your dad and mom and the Christian heritage they have raised you to believe in. I hope God will grant you peace as you share memories with your family and friends. Praying for you and remembering with great joy some good times with the Teasdales at Rockhurst High School.
Mark Bubalo
May 12, 2014
Joe Teasdale secured my dad's pension in the Firefighters Strike. My Grandfather, John Halloran went to the same daily mass at St. Elizabeth,s as Joe. Very compassionate and religious man. My family's condolences. Patrick J Halloran, son of Captain Geald C. Halloran, Kansas City Firefighter.
May 12, 2014
To the Teasdale Family,
I was very saddened to have learned of the passing of Governor Teasdale. As I personally didn't know him that well I had heard many a wonderful stories of him from my uncle Father William A. Finucane SJ as they grew up together. Please accept my deepest condolences and sympathies during this difficult time. "Rest In Peace" Governor Teasdale.
John Finucane
May 12, 2014
My sympathies to all the Teasdale Family. Joe helped me out of a jam once back in college and thought nothing of it, and, to me, that was his essence. You would engage with him, you knew he was listening, that he cared, he responded with you in mind, and then he just moved on gracefully to touch the life of the next person.
Mike Breen
May 11, 2014
I use to see Govenor Teasdale in downtown Kansas City taking in a noon mass at old Saint Patrick's church. I was impressed that a busy business man would take time out of his day for daily worship. I didn't know him personally but always respected him for his deep faith and values. My condolences to the Teasdale family.
Joanne Palluck
May 10, 2014
Joe was an amazing, magnetic Christian man. He was proud of his family and Catholicism. His populist style was appealing and endearing. You could write books about him. Thank you, God, for Joe.
Jim and Rosemary Maher
Overland Park, KS
May 10, 2014
Joe was a great cousin and someone that all of rest of the kids looked up to as he always had time for us and set an extremely solid example for us to strive for. He will be sorely missed by us all. William W. Welch Jr
May 10, 2014
May 10, 2014
My sympathy to the Teasdale family, especially my childhood best friend Ginny. I'm so sorry for the loss of your big brother. May he rest in peace.
Mary >Lee McQueeney
May 10, 2014
Theresa and family I was a class mate of Joe's in the Rockhurst class of 1953. I also knew some of your family at St Agnes. We lived in J C a lot during my many years with the hwy dept. Our house was full of people for Joe's inauguration including Father Luke Burns. The last time I saw Joe was at our 50 year class reunion. I wasn't able to make it last fall to our 60 year reunion. Any way our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
Royce and Rita Fugate
West Plains MO
May 10, 2014
If you had asked anyone of us in Flight H-37 going through basic training at Lackland Air Force Base, TX the summer of 1961, no one could have possibly imagined Joe Teasdale becoming a U.S. Governor. He did not take well to either the discipline or the authority, received enough "gig slips" to set him back a full week. But he never lost his sense of humor and he is singularly responsible for my getting through that 8-week summer ordeal in San Antonio. We became very good close friends over the years with many wonderful visits in California and Missouri. I dined with Joe's mom and dad and sisters in K.C. and CA. In more recent years, Karen and I had opportunities to get to know Theresa and the entire Teasdale family. He loved his family and friends deeply. And everyone who ever met him loved him, too. May you rest in peace, my dear, dear friend.
David Brudney
May 10, 2014
Joe was an icon in so many ways and the marks he left are still standing. He was a great friend who I greatly miss and think of often in future days. Well Done Joe!
Jerry Wyatt
May 10, 2014
I was privileged to work for both Joe & his father. I will always cherish every minute I spent with both of these wonderful men. Joe's love of family, God and respect for everyone were obvious from the minute you met him and no one could tell a story like Joe! My love to Theresa & his family.
Lyne Bishop
May 10, 2014
Joe Pat, We go back so many years - over 60. Yes, you were a Rockhurst Hawklet but also ,in your heart, a Hoganite!!! Those of us who had the pleasure to call you "friend" were truly blessed. You were a "gentleman" and a "gentle man".Our sincerest prayers for your beloved family. You will be truly missed.
Bonnie & Joe Ross
May 10, 2014
I am grateful for the life of Gov. Teasdale. Thanks to his service and to the service of others in our armed forces, my family and I have been able to lead our lives in freedom and peace.
May 10, 2014
I worked for the CCP in 1966 in which Joe was elected Prosecuting Attorney. I subsequently worked for his two gubernatorial campaigns. He was always so thoughtful; I considered him like the brother I never had. His parents and sister, Maureen, were such an incredible family. I'm so sorry for your loss.
Eleanor Schaeffer
May 9, 2014