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Joanne Barbara Pardee Carroll quietly passed away at home on January 17, 2024
Joanne Barbara Pardee Carroll was born in Denver, Colorado in 1938 and grew up in the Western suburb of Arvada, Colorado, the youngest of three sisters.
The creative arts were at the heart of Joanne's life. As a small girl, Joanne loved and studied dance eventually majoring in dance at Colorado State University. Here she met her lifelong husband, James F.L. Carroll. The couple were married in 1958 and started raising a family in Golden Colorado. After a long job hunt, the family moved east for her husband’s new teaching position at Kutztown State College in 1966.
Joanne birthed two daughters and two sons. She was immensely active in their lives and made sure there were lots of learning experiences; from swim lessons, horseback riding, encouraging and supporting school sports, theater, and a menagerie of pets.
Joanne choreographed musical productions at Kutztown State College in the late 1960's and '70's, and, taught ballet for a short time at the old borough hall.
Like many mothers of this era, Joanne had a sewing machine and sewed clothing for her children and flashy hippy ties for her college professor husband. The family also hosted popcorn and hamburger parties for art students at their home, the evening ending with guitars, banjos, musical spoons amid folk songs.
Joanne loved the old stone farmhouse the family purchased in 1970, three miles north of Kutztown, and called home for nearly 50 years. Eventually encompassing 18 acres, the gentleman’s farm allowed the family to have a pond, a large garden and many pets; horses, cats, ducks, a goose, rabbits, cats and a rescued raccoon. Joanne loved dogs and eight canine souls accompanied her throughout this lifetime.
Later, the farm was also a safehaven for her grandchildren. Naturally, Grandma was very active in her grandchildren’s lives. To this day, the farm with grandma and grandpa is a fond memory of catching frogs, playing with cats, building sandcastles in the old springhouse, talks with grandpa for the now adult grandchildren.
The place Joanne's creative endeavors flourished was at St. John's United Church of Christ in Kutztown. With great acoustics, the church has been a special venue for music and performance for decades.
With a close group of church friends, Joanne choreographed and performed Sacred Dance in the 1980's. Together with these same friends, Christian Clowning became their passion for many years. In white face, red smile & nose, and red yarn Raggedy Ann style wig, with several tears rolling down her cheeks, JoJo, was a gentle compassionate clown.
One of the highlights of JoJo’s clown career, and a story Joanne loved to tell, was dressing in full clown regalia, oil face paint, wig and all, with a friend in her personal clown attire, and riding public transportation in Philadelphia! Oh, the looks they got! As Joanne sagely explained, with deep historical and religious roots, clowning elicits some unusual emotional reactions from the public especially when out of context of circus or stage. Joanne found these oh, so human reactions, the fearful, the delighted and the ignored, to be great fodder for giggles, fun stories and philosophical reflection.
The 1990's was the dawn of puppetry in Joanne’s life. Each summer, she attended professional workshops which included instructors who were associates of Muppets creative genius Jim Henson. Joanne made her own puppets and staging. Many of her puppets with heads of carved foam were four feet tall. Many staged productions involving the church youth as novice puppeteers were held at St. John's.
Joanne was an active member of St. John’s since 1966. Volunteer service at the church in the making of crafts and foods for sale at the annual Christmas Bazaar and Easter time played a big part in her life for decades. With her alto voice and youth piano training, she was also a longtime choir member. Early on, Joanne was church secretary. Later, she was on the Consistory and Council of Elders. In retirement, she and her husband assisted further with the annual community Thanksgiving dinner.
Starting in the late 1980's, Joanne became the secretary for the New Arts Program, a nationally recognized educational one-to-one meet the artist program featuring avante garde singers, dancers, painters, sculptors, poets and composers whom the public could meet and talk with in private creative conversations. Over nearly forty years, Joanne kept meticulous computer files, wrote federal and state grant applications, edited correspondence, was the social coordinator, gallery opening food and wine purveyor and, generally, second in command to her director and founder husband. Hundreds of artists and NAP members enjoyed interacting with her. Joanne genuinely enjoyed people. As her husband said, “Without Joanne, the NAP could not exist. She was one half of the program, entirely.”
The last five years have found Joanne to be content in retirement with her husband and dog, living next door to her youngest daughter. The family will miss Joanne and enjoy their memories of time spent with her
A celebration of life service will take place January 28th, 2pm, at St John's United Church of Christ, 257 West Walnut St, Kutztown, Pa.