Cover photo for Joann Speer's Obituary
Joann Speer Profile Photo
1935 Joann 2020

Joann Speer

May 20, 1935 — December 22, 2020

To generations of children, Joann Speer was an avenue to adventures in art. She was both teacher and mentor, inspiring the artistic endeavors of thousands of students attending Lincoln, Jefferson, and Washington Schools in Tipton County. In her 28 years of teaching, her creative spirit encouraged confidence, inventiveness, and pure joy.

The eldest of three daughters born to Harold and Reba Phillips in 1935, Joann relished farm life and enjoyed her role as “Daddy’s son” on the family dairy farm in Muncie, Indiana. Her family was her delight. Sisters, Jane and Carol, became her companions and life-long friends. Joann developed strength of character and built leadership skills through her ten years of 4-H work. She took great pleasure in relating how her dairy calf, Brown Jeannie, won for her the Indiana State Fair Showmanship Award in 1950. Joann would laugh saying,” My secret was not skill, but following Brown Jeannie wherever she wanted to go.” For outstanding merit, Joann was awarded trips to Washington D.C. and National 4-H Club Congress. She graduated from Selma High School in 1953, keeping in close contact with many of her Selma Bluebird friends.

While attending Ball State Teachers’ College, Joann met her beloved husband of 48 years, David Speer. Both were attending school and working at Ball Stores in Muncie. David, who worked in displays, left love notes at Joann’s gift wrap station. He won her heart, and ultimately whisked her off in 1956, to a military life in Biloxi, Mississippi. It was here that Joann joked, “I was lonely, so I made my own friends”. (Dwight and Doug) Captain Speer was then stationed in Cheyenne, Wyoming, where Joann’s new “friends” (Debbie and Dwaine) arrived. Following six years in the Air Force, the Speer family returned to Indiana (joined then by Deanna) settling in Dave’s hometown of Tipton. Joann and Dave worked tirelessly as a team, raising their family of five, teaching, building a beautiful home, and contributing to community. (Phi Beta Psi, Sigma Delta Pi, Retired Teachers Association, Tipton Art Guild, Farm Bureau Pet and Hobby Leader, Tipton Extension Homemakers, Tipton County Goose Bean Garden Club, Tipton County Historical Society, Kemp United Methodist Church) Family was important to Joann. Her collection of pictures, letters, and newspaper cuttings from each member were held among all things dear.

Joann died quite unexpectedly in December. She was surrounded by her best “friends” (Children: Dwight, Doug/Diane, Debbie/Doug, Dwaine/Mary, and Deanna/Randy; Grandchildren: Katie/Devin, Matt, Sarah/Josh, Bethany/Will, Susie/Matt, Rachel, Caleb/Karsyn, Ryan, Adam, Hannah/Caleb, Kristen, and Grace; Great-grandchildren: Trinity, Alister, Liam, Miles, Yiska, Carter, Eleanor, Lyric, Kinsley, Jesse, and Vivian). Treasured family members not present in person were present in cards, phone calls, thoughts and prayers. In her final hours, when asked how she felt, she said, “Blessed.”

A celebration of life will be conducted at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 24, at Kemp United Methodist Church in Tipton, Indiana. Visitation with family will begin one hour prior. Should family and friends wish to distance but still participate in Joann’s service, please send a signed tracing of your hand, a lipstick kiss, or short note to daughter, D. Cox, 1010 Timbercrest Drive, Logansport, Indiana, 46947. Your notes will be placed in a basket at the church on your behalf. Make any inquiries to Young-Nichols Funeral Home, Tipton.


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