Joan Elaine Neese was born August 19, 1935, to Benjamin and Violet (Richards) Hall in River Sioux, Iowa.
She grew up in River Sioux attending grade and high school in Little Sioux and graduating in 1953.
Post-graduation, Joan (who preferred to be Joni) attended business college in Omaha and became a bookkeeper, putting those skills to use for many years by working at the bank in Pisgah.
On August 14, 1954, Joni married Donald Neese at the Pisgah Methodist Church and subsequently purchased a farm in River Sioux.
Together they worked and ran the farm until 1969 when they bought a car dealership and moved to Missouri Valley.
In 1985 Joni had the opportunity to purchase American Travel Center and a lifelong dream was realized.
Joni was consistently active in the community and proud to offer her time and services. She was a member of the United Methodist Church, Eastern Star Organization, Red Hat Society, Kiwanis, and a member of the Chamber of Commerce.
She was a staunch Democrat, committed promoter of equality for women and politically active in the party. She was involved in some aspect in every primary and general election, was often a delegate to the state convention, and ran for county auditor in the 1970’s.
Never one to sit still and possessing a strong entrepreneurial spirit, she became aligned with Vanda Cosmetics, a company known for offering skincare and makeup through home sales.
It was a role she was born to and she sold and advised women on the subject of skin for over 30 years. It was a subject with which she had some credibility as she possessed beautiful skin.
She more than loved traveling, she lived for it, possessing a wander lust that she passed on. She traveled the entire world and made sure that her family and circle of friends saw that world with her.
She adored Christmas, shopping, music, theatre, parties and anything that might put her in close proximity with other people. She was and will always be, an extravert, drawing her energy from those around her.
Joni passed away peacefully, to her Lord, on August 26, 2019, seven days after her 84th birthday. At her bedside were her two daughters, sad to let her go but thankful to see her pain free. She will be so very missed.
Joni is preceded in death by her parents and husband, Donald Neese. She is survived by her two daughters, Sherri and her husband Jim Daubert of Lincoln, Nebraska and Vicki and her husband Ted Myers of Logan, Iowa; five grandchildren, Sara Daubert-Ruddell and her husband Brad Ruddell of Fort Collins, Colorado, Jill and her husband Mike Johnson of Lincoln, Nebraska, Kandice and her husband Josh Paracsi of Liberty, Missouri, Krystal Kaufman of Roeland Park, Kansas, and Brock Myers of Indianola, Iowa; seven great-grandchildren, Molly and Cooper Wright of Fort Collins, Colorado, Sam and Sophie Johnson of Lincoln, Nebraska, Will and Kate Paracsi of Liberty, Missouri and Jude Kaufman of Roeland Park, Kansas; and many other relatives and friends.
A funeral service was held at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, September 4, 2019, at the United Methodist Church in Missouri Valley, Iowa. The clergy was Pastor Jason Gutzmer. The recorded musical selections were, “Amazing Grace” by Carrie Underwood, “Stand By You” by Rachel Platten and “I Did It My Way” by Frank Sinatra.
The honorary pallbearers were: Warren Oliver, Larry Bryceson, Brad Ruddell, Mike Johnson, Cooper Wright, Sam Johnson, Will Paracsi and Jude Kaufman.
The pallbearers were: Rick Shearer, Doug Maasen, Dennis Oliver, Mike Oliver, Josh Paracsi and Brock Myers. Joni’s final resting place is at the Little Sioux Cemetery near Little Sioux, Iowa.
Fouts Funeral Home in Woodbine was in charge of the arrangements.