Barbara Joanne Friend Neikirk

Barbara “Joanne” Friend Neikirk, 92 of Hendersonville, N.C. soared to her eternal home on January 28, 2022.  A beautiful lady with a big heart, Joanne was a resident of  the Carolina Village retirement community. 

She was born in Roanoke VA on August 9, 1929 to Laddie Daniel and W.B. Friend. She grew up in Roanoke attending Jefferson High School, where–she’d blush at this–she was named Snow Queen. She graduated from Women’s College in Greensboro NC with a Bachelor degree in Education in 1951. That same year, she married the love of her life, Charles “Chuck” William Neikirk.
When Chuck’s work took them to Ohio, they were blessed with a family. 
Tony (Sally) of Medina, OH; Barbara Lasater (Bill) of East Bend, NC and Joe (Pam) of Jenison, MI, all survive her. 
Joanne taught school for many years, as a substitute and/or part time teacher in the Ross Co. Ohio, Chillicothe City and parochial school systems.  She later became co-proprietor with close friend Dot Maull, in the establishment of a Pappagallo store in Chillicothe.
She was active in the League of Women Voters, the First Presbyterian Church and the Ross Co. Board of Elections. She would proudly but humbly tell you she never missed an election and volunteered at each within her precinct. She also mentored troubled youth, and lead a  4-H group for “city girls.”
Once retiring to North Carolina, Joanne continued to give to her community in remarkable faith-based commitment. She was active in the Etowah Methodist Church, the Etowah Public Library, the  Open Arms ministry, Meals-on-Wheels, The Prison Volunteer Visitor program, the Hendersonville Reading Buddies, and taught English as a second language.  When she moved to Carolina Village, her tireless efforts continued as she volunteered in the Village library, assisted in the CV Medical Center and instructed weekly exercise programs. Most recently, her humor and wit appeared in short stories that were  published  in The Village Voices. 
Joanne was predeceased by her brother Daniel Friend, of Texas and by her husband of 55 years.  She had 6 grandchildren;  Molly Freilich (Jarod)of NH, Joe (Emily) of MA,  Molly Neikirk Frielich (Jared), Seth (Leigh) of FL,Gabe Neikirk of MI, Joe Neikirk (Pearl) of MI and Kate Roach (Garrett) of NC. She had 8 great grandchildren, Cole, Levi, Zeke, Axel, Rory, Miles, Makenna and her namesake, Jessa Joanne.  Also surviving are several nieces and nephews, including Jay White (Cindy) of Lexington Kentucky, with whom she was particularly close.
The family would like to express their deep gratitude for the outstanding care and love that Joanne received from the Carolina Village Medical Center and 4 Seasons Hospice. As she said many times throughout her transition, “I am ‘angel-ized’ several times a day.”
Tentative plans for arrangements include a memorial service at Carolina Village and a private service in Ohio, to be announced at a later date.  For contributions in her memory the family requests donations to the Salvation Army.

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