Joanne Marie (Sheldahl) Kingsbury passed away Friday, August 27, 2021, in Gig Harbor, WA at the age of 85. Joanne was born at home during a Leap Year, February 29, 1936, in Story City, Iowa. In leap year birthdays she was just over 21 years of age. Her children often gave her birthday cards to commemorate her “real” birthday age throughout the years.
Joanne was raised on the farmlands of Iowa, including many years on her grandpa’s farm near Palm Grove, Iowa. She often spoke about cleaning the eggs of the 1000 chickens her parents raised, which were sold to the community and stores; and how she rode a pig that once ran between her legs.
She graduated from Harcourt High School in 1954, one of 7 in her class. During the summer of 1953 just before her senior year, Joanne worked as a carhop at the restaurant, Treloars, in Fort Dodge, Iowa. It is here where she met her future husband, Duane R. Kingsbury who had just returned home from his service in the Navy. They married Oct 10, 1954, and continued to live in Fort Dodge until 1962. It was at this time they moved their family of 4 to Gig Harbor, WA settling on a portion of land originally homesteaded by Duane’s Grandfather in 1901. Thereafter, a life was built continuing to add on to their family, building their own home on this land.
In 1973, Joanne and Duane divorced. Joanne went back to school and graduated from Tacoma Community College and later Evergreen State College where she earned her Bachelors’ Degree in Psychology with a Minor in Journalism. She worked as a Counselor for the State of Washington Employment Security and spent her last 8 years as a Counselor with the Washington Corrections Center for Women located in Gig Harbor, where she retired in 1998. She felt her work was purposeful and was revered by those she helped as a Counselor.
Joanne was a member of the Gig Harbor Eagles Auxiliary for 37 years. She held many of the chair and officer positions and enjoyed her time as a longstanding member. During the last few years, she and her significant other, Wally Cornman could often be found dancing their way around the dance floor twice a week and enjoying the company of other members.
An avid reader and fiction writer, Joanne filled her home with ample books and has left behind many short stories, poems, and two complete novels. Two short stores were published in the Gig Harbor’s Peninsula Gateway paper. Her favorite book as a child was Heidi, and her favorite author as an adult was Joyce Carol Oats. She also enjoyed reading many of the literary magazines. She would never want to pass up a good bookstore along the way and read every day.
Joanne enjoyed the simplicity of life and being out in nature, especially loving the wildness of the forests, picking wild berries to eat and to bake with. As a young girl she would say, “one day I will live in the woods.” During her younger years, she spent many moments taking her family out hiking and camping in the old canvas tent along the Wynoochee River and Staircase Recreation Area, driving up the steep mountain roads, heading up to Mount Rainier, and going on other outdoor adventures. She enjoyed exploring new areas but found Port Townsend, WA and Canyon Beach, OR as her most favorite locations to visit. She could also be found visiting historical sites and museums, attending Scandinavian Festivals, and theatre plays throughout her years.
Joanne was a strong willed and independent woman who survived many hardships in life yet retained a natural quietness and gentle spirit throughout her 85 years. It was often stated by others who knew her that she was “such a lovely lady.” She had a good and kind heart and would always see the good in people no matter what. She always believed she would live a long life and reach the age of 100. Joanne will continue to live forever in God’s Loving Embrace and in His Grace. She will be missed in the lives of her family and those who knew her here upon the earth.
Joanne is survived by her sister, Carol (Bob) Marshall, Demotte, IN, her children, David (Debbie) Kingsbury, Ocean Park, WA; Karl Kingsbury, Fort Dodge, IA; Scott Kingsbury, Gig Harbor, WA; Karin (Jim) Stanley, Ellensburg, WA. Grandchildren, Amanda (Jon) Kingsbury Whedon, Portland, OR; Kristine Kingsbury, Everett, WA. Jacob Hausman, Vancouver, WA, Tanith Wooldridge, Shelton, WA; Great grandchildren, Kyla Hausman, Bonny Lake, WA; and Michael Gillum, Shelton, WA, along with several nieces and nephews and their children. Joanne is preceded in death by her two son’s Mark Brian, and Alan Michael, parents, Eric R and Dorothy E (Freed) Sheldahl, brother and sister-in-law Marvin E and Eleanor (Danielson) Sheldahl, brother Richard Sheldahl, niece Rosa Sheldahl, and nephew Wesley Sheldahl.
Funeral Services will be held on September 11, 2021, at 11:00am at the Peninsula Lutheran Church, 6509 38th Ave, Gig Harbor, WA 98335. A burial ceremony will follow at the Old Gig Harbor Cemetery, 10317 Gig Harbor Dr NW; Gig Harbor, WA 98332. A viewing at the church will be held prior to the funeral at 10:30am. All are welcome to attend.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Joanne Marie (Sheldahl) Kingsbury, please visit our floral store.