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1944 Joan 2023

Joan Ellen (LaShell) Yows

June 5, 1944 — December 13, 2023

Waco, Texas

Joan Ellen (Joani) Yows, 79, of Waco “no longer has to imagine what it will be like” because she saw the face of God on December 13, 2023.  She passed peacefully at home surrounded by loved ones after a brief but courageous battle with brain cancer.

A service to celebrate her life will be 10 am, Saturday, January 13, 2024 at First Methodist Church Waco, 4901 Cobbs Dr Waco, Tx.  A reception and time of greeting with the family will follow in the church's family center.

Joani was born June 5, 1944 in Manhattan, KS to William and Lois LaShell.  Joani’s mother was an art dealer and she grew up to appreciate the arts and music.  She graduated from Manhattan High School in 1962.  She attended Kansas State University until she met and married her first husband (Wayne Cunningham).  In 1975, they and their three small children moved to Waco when he transferred to a new job.  After their divorce, Joani used her success in organizing and managing several Girl Scout cookie drives to begin working in retail sales.  She moved from a sales clerk at Bealls to managing other ladies clothing stores.  She returned to Bealls where she worked as the Assistant Manager until her retirement in 2000.  A highlight of her career was being selected to serve on a corporate team that trained new employees and set up new stores.

Joani married James T (Tom) Yows, Jr. on July 12, 1985, in Waco, TX.  This union added two step-children to her family.  Then a daughter was born to complete their blended family. Throughout their 38 years of marriage, Joani and Tom enjoyed dancing and twirling across many dance floors. They went on many adventures together, “road tripping” with special friends, traveling across the world and going on several cruises.

While volunteering at her church she was recruited to join the Kids Kastle team at First Methodist Church Waco.  For the next 20 years she nurtured and loved on toddlers in this Mother’s Day Out program.  She had a special gift for calming anxious children (and mothers) while encouraging social growth with the help of her friends Elmo and Big Bird.  She spent countless hours researching and preparing crafts and activities that kept her children entertained.  Every Sunday Miss Joani would get hugs from the little ones who enjoyed her loving care.  She loved the Lord and her church and enjoyed teaching Sunday school, Vacation bible school, Stars reading program with Waco ISD and an active member of the Precepts Sunday School class.

Joani enjoyed being with her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  She delighted in entertaining them with balloons, candy, trips to the zoo, baking cookies, Target purchases, and the newest children’s activity she learned about from Pinterest.

She was preceded in death by her parents, brother Bill LaShell (on December 13, 2022) and granddaughter Karlie Odum.

Left to cherish her memory are her husband, Tom Yows, son Bryon Cunningham and wife Lara, daughter Cristy Cunningham, daughter Sharon Vickerson and husband Rich, daughter Jennifer Kirby and husband Justin, Tom’s children, James Justin Yows and wife Mary and Jocelyn Yows and husband Heath Grimes.  Those who call her Gram are Grant Cunningham and wife Melanie, Reid Cunningham, Lilli Snyder, Patrick Cunningham, Rachel Christian and husband Chad, Spencer Odum and wife Deserae, Nick Vickerson and wife Hannah, Jake Vickerson and wife Kelby, Evelyn and Wade Kirby, Lexi Reid and husband Conrad, Trevor Angelo, Jazz Yows and husband Jeremy Brannon, Gilbert Arriaga, Adrian Arriaga, Tony Arriaga, Sabrina Delorosa and husband Dan, Latisha Arriaga and partner, Britney Martinez and 24 wonderful great-grandchildren. Also to cherish her memory are sister-in-law, Loraine LaShell and nephews David and Billy LaShell and niece Nancy Spencer, special family friends Kelli Edmond and Whitney Trevino.

The family would like to extend a special thanks to the physicians and staff at Scott and White Fishpond clinic, McClinton Cancer Center, Ascension at Home/Compassus home health care and Compassus hospice.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to First Methodist Church Waco Kids Kastle, The American Cancer Society, God is Big Enough Ministries (P. O. Box 24263, Waco TX 76712), The American Heart Association or a charity of choice.

Registry for Joan  Yows

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Service Schedule

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Saturday, January 13, 2024

Starts at 10:00 am (Central time)

First Methodist Church of Waco (Cobbs Drive)

4901 Cobbs Drive, Waco, TX 76710

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Reception

Saturday, January 13, 2024

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

First Methodist Church of Waco (Cobbs Drive)

4901 Cobbs Drive, Waco, TX 76710

Get Directions

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