Joan Kirchoff Obituary

Joan was the mother to well known musician John Kirchoff and wife of Elmer Kirchoff former president of SWIC and supporter of the music program there.

Dr. Joan M. Kirchoff, nee Mellein , 74, of Smithton, Illinois, born Sunday, July 23, 1939, in New Memphis, IL, died Friday, January 3, 2014 at The Arbors at Parkway Gardens in Fairview Heights, Illinois.

Joan was a devoted wife, mother, and friend.  She dedicated her life to her career in education with the wellbeing of each student being her primary focus.

Joan began her career as a secretary at Scott Air Force Base. Later, she earned a Bachelor’s degree in education and subsequent employment as a teacher in Belleville at Douglas and Central Junior High Schools.  She continued her education, earning a Master’s and Doctorate degree in Education from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville.  She served as principal at Franklin and Abraham Lincoln Schools.

Throughout her career, Joan was highly respected by the community of educators.  Joan was active in the PTA and Mothers’ Clubs in the schools in which she worked.  She especially enjoyed the Pumpkin Patch and Fall Festival at Abe Lincoln School.  Joan participated in a number of organizations, including the Illinois Federation of Teachers, St. Clair County School Administrators, Franklin Neighborhood Association, and Illinois Association of School Administrators.  She was a member of Saint Henry’s Catholic Church.

Joan was blessed to have spent her career in Belleville School District 118, where she made countless memories and life-long friendships.  After retirement, she taught Early Childhood Education at McKendree University and Remedial Language Arts at Southwestern Illinois College.

Throughout her life, Joan spent countless hours nurturing her flowers to be admired by many.  She cherished the memories created while traveling with Elmer.  Her last years at home were consumed by caring for her lovable, four-legged boys, Louie and Bix.

Although Alzheimer’s took Joan/Mom/Grandma/Sister/Friend all too soon, the memories will never fade in the minds and hearts of the lives she touched. For the heart that truly loves, never forgets.

The family would like to acknowledge the outstanding and compassionate care Joan received from the dedicated staff at The Arbors and Hospice of Southern Illinois.

She was preceded in death by her:

  • Parents: Herbert and Verene nee Haas Mellein.

Surviving are her:

  • Husband: Elmer H. Kirchoff of Smithton, IL
  • Children
    • Sally (Bryan) Kendall of Waterloo, IL
    • John Kirchoff of Freeburg, IL
  • Grandchildren
    • Matthew Kendall of Waterloo, IL
    • Kaitlin Kendall of Waterloo, IL
    • Augustin “Gus” (Candice) Kirchoff of Centralia, MO
  • Great Grandson: Kain Kirchoff of Centralia, MO

She took enormous pride in the accomplishments of each of her grandchildren.

  • Brothers
    • Herbert (Carolyn) Mellein of Kansas City, MO
    • Charles (Mary) Mellein of Atlanta, GA
    • Loring Mellein of New Baden, IL
  • Sisters
    • Patricia (Robert) Sibert of New Baden, IL
    • Roseann (James) Agnew of Belleville, IL
  • Brother-in-law: James (Carol) Kirchoff of Hoyleton, IL
  • Many beloved nieces and nephews

Memorials: Memorials may be made to the Hospice of Southern Illinois, Belleville School District #118 Foundation or Alzheimer’s Association.

Visitation:  Friends may call from 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm Tuesday, January 7, 2014 at Kurrus Funeral Home in Belleville, Illinois.

Funeral:  A funeral procession will leave from Kurrus Funeral  Home in Belleville, IL at  9:45am on Wednesday, January 8, 2014 for a 10:00 am mass of Christian Burial at Saint Henry’s Catholic Church in Belleville, Illinois with Rev. Kenneth York officiating.  Interment will follow at Lake View Memorial Gardens, Fairview Heights, Illinois.

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