Barbara Joanne (Dick) (Hill) Runyon Obituary
On October 15, 1928, the small town of Bellaire in Smith County, Kansas grew by one.
Dr. I. E. Nickell made a house call and delivered a bouncing baby girl to Floyd and Mary Agnes (Morgan) Dick. Floyd proudly said, “That's making them pretty fine, isn't it?” The baby girl was given the name Barbara Joanne Dick. She was named after two of her parent’s favorite movie stars of the time: Barbara Stanwyck and Joan Crawford. Dr. Nickell made a mistake on the birth certificate and spelled her middle name as “Joanne.” That little girl grew up going by the name of “Joanne” or “Jody” as her father nicknamed her and only used her first name when signing legal documents.
In 1931, another daughter was born, Joyce, and Joanne became the “big sister” and “guardian.” Their sisterly bond lasted their entire lives.
Floyd was a school teacher by trade and got permission from the school superintendent to let his girls start their education in the Womer, District 21 school where he was teaching at the time. As it turned out, Floyd was their only teacher during their grade school years. Joanne attended Smith Center High School and graduated in the Class of 1946. After high school, she attended a summer school program at Ft. Hays Teacher's College and earned her teaching certificate. She taught school for several years prior to her marriage. She also worked for Dr. I. E. Nickell, the same doctor who brought her into the world.
On June 3, 1950 in the Methodist Parsonage in Mankato, Kansas, Joanne married Alvin C. Hill. The couple was married by Alvin's cousin, Rev. W. Carl Green. They began their married life on a farm 5 miles southeast of Smith Center that remained their home for many years.
Joanne was the mother of four children. Her first, Barbara Jane, was born in 1952 and died in 1954. It was a loss that Joanne carried in her heart for the rest of her life. Her second child, Mary Jane, was born in 1955. A son, Alan C. was born in 1958. Her last child, Patricia “Patty” was born in 1966.
In the early 1960's, Joanne began a secretarial career at the Smith County Courthouse. She worked for the County Extension Agent, the County Treasurer's office, and finally in the County Attorney's office. Joanne loved working with numbers and her meticulous book keeping skills remained with her throughout her life. After leaving the courthouse, Joanne worked for a local insurance agent. She took the courses to become licensed and enjoyed that career for a number of years.
When Alvin was diagnosed with cancer, the couple decided to turn the farming operation over to their son and move into Smith Center. They purchased a home at 218 N. Grant. That became the house where her family would congregate on holidays.
Alvin passed away in 1987. They were married 37 years. Joanne and her little dog, Scruffy, made a new life. Joanne was always involved in church whether it was the Presbyterian, Crystal Plains Church, the South Brethran Church in Portis, the Nazarene Church, or her current church home of Central Community Church in Smith Center. Her faith was unshakeable and she enjoyed reading her Bible, exploring the stories and history of Biblical times, and spending time in the presence of her Savior.
Any time of day was a good time for a cup of coffee! Joanne enjoyed coffee with friends at the Jiffy Burger, with her daughter Patty and grand dog, Belle, in the mornings. Joanne kept a supply of Vienna Sausages and would cut one up in little pieces, and feed them to Belle who would patiently wait on her daily treat. She also enjoyed coffee with her little “club” of high school friends. Coffee was also enjoyed while working a crossword puzzle, a Suduko puzzle, or a jigsaw puzzle.
In 1994, Joanne surprised her children with the news that she was dating! She married Francis Runyon on November 26, 1994. She was escorted down the aisle by her oldest grandson. Thus began a new phase of life.
She and Francis enjoyed pulling the camper to various locations and seeing the sights. She loved going to the Black Hills. If they could find a fishing hole, that made the trip even better. They were always busy doing something until “older age” began to creep up. They loved visits from the grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
As the years crept up, Joanne slowed down, but didn’t give up! Health issues required that Francis move to the Smith Center Health and Rehab, and Joanne would faithfully pick up his laundry several times a week, wash it, and then iron. She would say, “I hate seeing wrinkles in men’s shirts!” The pandemic brought her social life to a screeching halt. No more coffee parties at Jiffy Burger. Only going to the grocery store when needed. The one thing that didn’t come to a halt was her weekly appointment to get her hair washed, set, and styled at the beauty shop by Patty. Throughout the pandemic, Joanne enjoyed her daily phone calls from Francis, her kids, and grandkids. She enjoyed her step-daughter, Joanna, popping in for a quick visit. She adored seeing her great-grandchildren and her one great-great grandson!
Until recently, Joanne was living life to its fullest at the age of 93 years! She lived in her own house. She cooked her own meals. In the summer, she would make pickled beets and pass them out to anyone who would enjoy them! Her recipe was tops! She read here Bible daily aided by her large magnifying glass. And, she drove (probably not her wisest choice due to her cataracts). She always managed to find her way home safely.
Joanne passed away at the Smith Center Health and Rehab on Thursday, March 31, 2022.
Joanne was preceded in death by her parents, Floyd and Agnes Dick, her infant daughter, Barbara Jane, her husband, Alvin, and sister, Joyce.
She leaves behind a wonderful legacy and memories with her husband, Francis Runyon, Smith Center; her daughter, Mary Jane McIntire of Salina, KS; son Alan (Lynne) Hill of rural Smith County; and daughter Patricia (Darren) Meyer of Smith Center, step-daughter, Joanna Runyon of Smith Center; 9 grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren, and 1 great-great grandson.
Joanne was a fiercely independent woman who taught her children right from wrong, instilled them with self-confidence, and gave them pride. She taught them to love God and say their prayers nightly. She kissed many skinned knees and wrapped each of us in a warm hug! Hers was a long life that was well-lived.
We celebrate her life, her memories, and her new heavenly home!
A private family graveside service will take place Saturday, April 16, 2022, at Crystal Plains Cemetery, Smith County, KS, with Pastor Dennis Lambert officiating. Memorials may be given to Barbara J. Runyon Memorial Fund and can be sent in care of All Faiths Funeral Chapel, 113 S. Madison St., Smith Center, KS 66967.