Joann Ruth (Orr) Boyd quietly returned to her Creator on July 24, 2022. She was born in Denver, Colorado on August 1, 1935, the second child of Harold and Florence (Warlick) Orr. She spent her school years in Kingman, Arizona, excelling in music and academics, and graduated at the top of her class. She majored in elementary education at Abilene Christian College, and continued to sing in the chorus. In the ACC A Cappella Chorus she met the love of her life, a music major named Jack. Contrary to the recommendations of their friends, they married in 1956 and recently celebrated their 66th wedding anniversary.
The next 12 years were spent moving around the country following Jack’s schooling and jobs, teaching public school, and adding three children to the family, Alan Stuart, Susan Kathleen, and Jeannette Ruth (Jeannie). The family settled in Abilene in 1968, where Jack taught in the music department at ACC. Joann cared for Jack’s college students, the Boyd children, and her mother-in-law, Stella, taught Bible school classes to children and adults, sang in community choruses, and completed her masters degree in education (4.0 GPA!) at ACU. In 1976 Joann began a 20-year career in the Abilene ISD, teaching kindergarten, 1st grade, and Headstart classes, and supervising student teachers and paraprofessional motor-lab teachers. After retiring from AISD, Joann continued influencing the children of Abilene by volunteering in the children’s area at the Grace Museum.
Jack and Joann loved to travel for fun (Italy), ACC Chorus tours (Spain, Hungary, Mexico), and mission work (Ukraine, Poland, Scotland, Nicaragua). They shared their Ruidoso, NM cabin with so many family and friends for honeymoons, family vacations, and “girls’ weekends.” So many of the grandchildren’s memories are connected to those experiences!
Joann loved spending time with family and friends, but was the happiest when she was watching her grandkids perform in music, theater, and sports. She earned the title of “Coolest Grandmama Ever” because she loved to have fun with them, riding the purple motorized scooter, going swimming and diving off the diving board, and hosting many family birthdays and Christmas celebrations on their big porch in the country.
Joann was preceded in death by her parents, Harold and Flo Orr, her brother and sister-in-law, Rip and Merle Orr, and one grandson, Jarrett Forehand. She is survived by her husband Jack Boyd of Abilene, son Alan (and wife Lori) of Nashville, TN, and daughters Susan Teel (and husband Allen), and Jeannie Forehand (and husband Gary). Her legacy will be carried on by grandchildren Taylor (Jacob) Sharbel, Stuart (Elizabeth) Boyd, Megan Teel, Emily Teel (Jordan Bell), Julia Teel, Cassidy Forehand, and Jackson Forehand, and great-grandchildren Miriam and Lenore Sharbel.
Please join the family for fellowship, remembrance, and celebration of Joann’s life at 10:00 a.m. Thursday, July 28, 2022, at the Minter Lane Church of Christ in Abilene. A family visitation will take place on Wednesday evening from 6:30-8:00 p.m. at the Hamil Family Funeral Home, 6449 Buffalo Gap Road in Abilene.
The family would like to thank everyone who helped care for Joann during her 8-year battle with dementia, especially the members of Minter Lane Church of Christ, Diamond Creek In-home Care (especially our special angel, Ann), Lyndale Abilene Memory Care, and Hospice of the Big Country.
Although Joann loved flowers and plants of all kinds, in lieu of these, consider donating to the Alzheimer’s Association or Hospice of the Big Country.